The Sleeping Senate

Garden Valley Collegiate
Winkler, Manitoba

By Lance (Grade 12)

Most Canadians are, for the most part, satisfied with how the Federal Government works. Every few years, each Canadian of legal voting age has the opportunity to vote for who he or she would like as their representative in the House of Commons. The House of Commons, 295 members strong, is responsible for most facets of the Federal Government.

After a bill is passed by the House of Commons, the Senate is to review the bill. Personally, I find that this step in the political process to be useless. The Senate is made up of 102 Canadians appointed by the Prime Minister. These 102 members each receive $75,000 annually, $10,000 of which is tax-free. The Senate, in salaries alone, costs Canadian taxpayers almost 8 million dollars every year.

What exactly do we get in return for that money? The Senate is seldom mentioned in the news, this for good reason. They pass every bill passed their way. Why? Because they are expected to. In the past, when the Senate opposed a bill, the Prime Minister simply added a few new Senators to swing the vote.

The Senate knows its place and they are comfortable where they are. At present, the average age of a Senator is 63 years old. They may remain there until the age of 75. The Senate is looked upon as a soft retirement program for past politicians.

I hope that someday the Senate will be a voted body that works for the people of Canada. The Senate will be looked upon to review bills and openly share their opinion with the House of Commons. Elections will be held every four years to avoid having some members there for 20 years or more.

How long will the Senate remain as is? Will it ever be questioned or changed? I certainly hope so.

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