When it comes to Canada’s Senate, a brand new poll shows that about a third of us want to see the thing abolished, another third want it reformed, and the remaining third of us want pollsters who call us at home at dinnertime to be keel-hauled.
Keep in mind that these findings came before we learned of the sexual assault charge against senator Patrick Brazeau, and his subsequent exile; that is, if you can call being paid your $132,300 salary while being told to stay away from the office “exile;” (somewhere, Napoleon’s ghost weeps).
The results were greeted by concerned senators with a stiff resolve, in the form of an extended middle finger. (Taxpayers can expect a $65 bill for the manicure.)
This shameless bunch cares not a whit what we think. They realize we pose little threat to them, what with their “jobs” for a lifetime, accompanied by outrageous pensions that ensure their rip-off of the Canadian taxpayer does not end when their sinecure does.
They can’t even be trusted to police themselves. Look at their handling of the investigation into three senators – Brazeau, Ontario’s Mac Harb, and Mike Duffy, who calls Prince Edward Island home, which apparently is news to every single other person living there — for possible abuse of their living expense allowances.
Showing how seriously they take this matter, the senators have called on one of their committees to actually interview the three! And they wrote a letter to them too.
Whew! Hard decisions like that sure justify the big bucks we pay senators. But they don’t explain why they don’t feel any obligation to actually show up for work regularly. Brazeau had the worst attendance record of any of this sorry lot last year, missing about a quarter of the sittings. And he won’t even go into the record books as the worst truant.
That “ honour” goes to Liberal Andrew Thompson, who resigned in 1998 after it was revealed he had attended about five per cent of sittings over more than a decade. While pocketing full paycheques, and with the full knowledge of his colleagues. There may not be honour among thieves, but apparently there is loyalty.
Well, we taxpayers owe none of our loyalty to this halfway house of political whoring (maybe that’s why it’s called the Red Chamber, in honour of the brothels whose colour scheme it borrowed).
The Senate just has to go. It serves no useful purpose (unless studying economic and political developments in the Republic of Turkey counts). It is an affront to democracy, granting unelected patronage appointees power over our elected Parliament.
And it is an unjustifiable expense. We don’t need two houses full of politicians. Just ask ordinary Americans how well they are being served by the governmental gridlock down there between their House and Senate (and at least they elected all of their officials, even the dead ones.)
We really didn’t need a survey to tell us that Canadians deem the Senate well past its Best Before date. What we do need now is a poll in the House of Commons – more formally known as a vote – to get rid of this travesty once and for all.
Above: Senator Patrick Brazeau accepts the Bad Sport Award at the National Press Gallery Dinner Saturday in Gatineau, Quebec, Saturday November 3, 2012. Image credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand