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Docherty the Canadian Senate Chamber of Sober Second Thought.docx

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Political Science
POLI 221
Rick Schultz

Docherty, David C, “The Canadian Senate: Chamber of Sober Second Thought or Loony Cousin Best Not Talked About”, Journal of Legislative Studies, 8, #3, Autumn 2003, pp.27-48.  House of Lords now reformed. Our senate is the most unreformed chamber in all parliamentary democracies  Defenders of Canadian senate: allow PM to make up for the lack of representation in the lower house that might occur because of the single-member plurality system  There have been calls and attempts at reforms  Argument: most reforms have failed because there must be constitutional amendments. Hope lies in smaller reforms that do not require amending the constitution The Senate as a Representative Chamber  Primarily seen as a reflective body  The initial objective was to represent 2 distinct segments of Canadian society; o Regions (because at first, provinces did not have much power. So, must find a way to represent regions) o Propertied interests  3 criteria for appointment; o Region o Age (30, copied on the US) o Property (4,000$, used to make senate more elitist and conservative) The Present Senate of Canada  Appointment: PM choose you. Either accept or decline  PM use appointment as a way to have more representation in the government, if they lack some in the House  Used to have cabinet ministers from the Senate  Partisan affiliation used when PM appoints senators (used as political reward for party faithful)  Senators enter senate at an older age and stay longer  One fifth of all senators have experience as Commoners  More gender and race equality in the Senate than in the House  Sometimes, PM use appointment to make a better representation based on occupational background  Less regional representation than 25 years ago Functions and Powers of the Canadian Senate  Passes or defeat legislation  Reticent to use this power  Pr
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