Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Stacking the Senate

I'm going to be bold and start this post by claiming the Senate can be divided into 4 eras.

This wikipage I created will help guide you though this discussion. I made it when I was far more partisan and wanted to show off how "fair" Paul Martin was as Prime Minister.

The first era would last but a single day; the "Royal Proclamation" that created the Senate. Worked out, in part, though a sort of an all-party agreement, these would be the first Senators.

The second era would start rather quickly with the first government. In this period at least 80% of all Senators appointed were from the governing party; and in fact, in total, 95% of senators appointed were.

This era ends when Pierre Trudeau gets elected, and puts an age limit (mandatory retirement) on the Senate.

The third era is thus from his election to the end of Harpers term. Again we return to a time when, except for Paul Martin, at least 80% of Senators appointed are from the governing party. A total of 93% of senators in this era were from the government.

This would end when Justin Trudeau was elected.

Trudeau (Justin) has appointed a large number of Senators who would sit in the Independent Senators Group, or ISG. The ISG's mission statement outlines their intent to sit as an answer to the "Crossbench" found in the UK. As such, for the remainder of this post, I shall simply call them Crossbenchers.

To that end I'll dive straight into current caucus numbers:

Trudeau - 41
Harper - 7
Chretien - 2
Martin - 2

Harper - 30
Mulroney - 2

Chretien - 7
Martin - 3

Trudeau - 3
Harper - 1
Chretien - 1

Trudeau - 1
Martin - 1
Harper - 1

At this time, there are 52 Crossbench Senators, and 50 Non-Crossbench Senators. In effect, the Crossbenchers control the Senate.

Please note that this post is part of a larger series I plan to do on Senate Reform. My objective with this post was to show that

A - The two Trudeaus did more for "Senate Reform" than any other Prime Minister (with more of a focus on what Trudeau Sr did in a later post)

B - What Justin Trudeau has done potentially changes the very nature of the Senate itself.

and C - That as things currently stand, this can not last, and something will have to give (which I'll show using the points I highlighted as the 'why' in a later post)

For now, simply be aware of the ISG's role in controlling the Senate, and if this interests you, perhaps look at their website.

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