So Stephen Harper today is pledging to move forward with reforming the Senate; namely making a Senate seat an elected position instead of an appointed one. For once, I agree with our dearest Prime Minster. However, I believe he should take it one step further.
I just did a little reading on the Senate and discovered that it has 105 seats. 105! Why so many? The U.S. has 10x the population we do and each state only elects two Senators – one junior, one senior. Considering Ontario, the most populous province in our fair nation, has only 2 million more people than New York City, why does it need 22 more senators than the entire state of New York? It boggles the mind.
105 Senators getting paid $122,700 each (in 2006) equals $12,883,500 each year in taxpayer money going to people we don’t elect. Admittedly there are currently 16 vacant seats so we’re “only” spending $10,920,300 this year on salary for the Canadian Senate. If we moved to a structure where each province had 2 Senators and each of the territories had one, not only we would achieve a system that makes sense and is fair but it would also mean we have 23 Senators, ensuring we never have a tie as long as they all vote on each piece of legislation.
And not only do we cut out a lot of the fat, we cut down expenses! 23 Senators would only cost $2,822,100 a year! That’s a savings of $10,061,400!
People, this is the type of thinking we need in the PMO! Why isn’t Harper talking about downsizing the Senate? I’m all for electing my own Senators from Ontario, but we don’t need 24 of them represening the province! Also, is it just me or does $122,700 just scream “overpaid!”?