Is it any wonder that according to a poll this week conducted by Canadian Press/Harris Decima, 32 per cent of respondents felt the Senate should be abolished. Another one-third felt the Senate should become an elected body. We don't know what the remaining Canadians told the survey callers - but we suspect some said, "what Senate?"
This week the Senate will move a motion forcing Sen. Patrick Brazeau to take a leave of absence. Brazeau is currently free on bail following his arrest last Thursday on assault and sexual assault charges. The irony of this is surely not lost on Burnaby residents who saw much hoopla in the media this past week (see page three) when Prime Minister Stephen Harper came to town to announce tougher laws on dangerous offenders. Granted Brazeau is not a dangerous offender, and has not been found guilty of the current charges, but he's not exactly the poster boy a prime minister would want for a Conservative senator.
And then there's the 'allowance scandal' as it is being called.
Senators who do not reside full-time in Ottawa are part of a rich pay and pension package. We're not sure what the Senate costs taxpayers per year, but we do know that the 105 senators each make a minimum of $132,000 per year plus thousands in expenses. If you visit the Senate website it's not exactly a hub of activity and accomplishments.
Premier Christy Clark pledged, last year, that she would bring in an elected Senate process for B.C.. That pledge might be well intentioned, but it does not address the overriding issue of whether the Senate serves any useful purpose in this day and age.