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Monday Morning Commentary

Rick Swenson

Another week has gone by and it has gone quickly. It is always that way when you are up against deadlines and that is certainly the case this year with spring seeding having a late start. The other thing that you get to do with the long hours is to listen to innumerable news reports and talk shows on the tractor radio.

It appears some things don’t change in a week. The Mayor of Toronto is still in big trouble over his reported drug use. The Senate scandal continues to unravel with more players being named each and every day our Premier has chatted with his pollster and has now jumped on the Senate abolishment team.

Putting aside the issue of what to do with the Senate in the longer term is the fact that this institution has fallen on hard times primarily because Prime Ministers of all stripes have used it for their own personal and political agendas rather than what it was intended for. It is hard for me to believe that in this great country of ours there are not 120 or so upstanding Canadians with the right value systems and integrity to perform the duties that the Senate was intended to perform by our founding fathers.

The role of the Senate was always envisioned as a sober second thought about legislation passed by the House of Commons. Our founding fathers envisioned the day when large parliamentary majorities would ram through legislation that was not necessarily favoured by a majority of Canadians or was particularly unbalanced against a particular region or province. Therefore they needed an institution of people who were not beholding to the political masters of the day and who because they were not elected every four years were supposed to be able to take a longer term view of our country and how it should govern itself. There have been instances in our history where in fact this has occurred and we as a country have been better for it.

Unfortunately, Prime Ministers and their key backroom boys have used the Senate as a reward system for political loyalty and political fundraising and this has been done at the expense of the Canadian taxpayer. It is wrong. I like many others in the early 1980’s became members of the Tripe-E Senate movement whereby Senators would become elected and accountable to the people of this country as an alternative to a system which was not working. That process has been delayed and sidetracked because various Prime Ministers seem to lack the courage to drive this forward. Canadians have lost patience and seem to be prepared to throw the baby out with the bath water. That certainly is the easiest solution.

Premiers have now become far more powerful. They have their own little executive council operations which mirror the centralization of power that we have seen with the various PMO’s and they do not like anyone forcing sober second thought on their agendas either. We in this country have basically been moving to elected dictatorships and as a result, fewer and fewer Canadians are taking the opportunity to cast their ballots at all levels of government because they see no reason to waste their time when the decisions are made by so few and power continues to be concentrated in the hands of political leaders and their friends.

I believe the right thing to do would be to put a royal commission in place that would travel this country from sea-to-sea and engage Canadians on not simply the Senate but how do we bring electoral responsibility and its privileges back to Canadian voters.

On a lighter note, I thought you might enjoy this joke which showed up in a popular agricultural website this morning. I hope no one takes offence at some of the religious connotations. It is simply to bring a little humour to this Canadian embarrassment.

A man died and went to Heaven. As he stood in front of the Pearly Gates, he saw a huge wall of clocks behind him.

He asked, 'What are all those clocks?'

St. Peter answered, 'Those are Lie-Clocks. Everyone who has ever been on earth has a Lie-Clock. Every time you lie, the hands on your clock move.'

'Oh', said the man. 'Whose clock is that?'

'That's Mother Teresa's', replied St. Peter. 'The hands have never moved, indicating that she never told a lie.'

'Incredible', said the man. 'And whose clock is that one?'

St. Peter responded, 'That's Abraham Lincoln's clock. The hands have moved twice, telling us that s in his entire life.'

'Where's Mike Duffy's clock?' asked the man.

St Peter replied, 'Jesus has it in his office. He uses it as a ceiling fan.'

Your feedback is welcome on anything you see in the Monday Morning Commentary. Please send your comments to contact @pcsask.ca. If you know of anyone that would be interested in receiving this by email, please forward me their email address. Also – don’t forget to check out our website at pcsask.ca.

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