Sunday, December 17, 2006

Still non-binding

Pundits and bloggers alike who should know better have bought into part of PMS' spin on Senate "consultations":
Doubters will point out that without constitutional change, ultimate veto power will still land in the lap of the prime minister.

So what? It would be foolhardy for a prime minister to ignore a senator chosen in a Senate election.
In practice, the Prime Minister would have a hell of a time explaining why he or she didn't choose the populations first choice...
Needless to say, it would come as news to at least five putative Senators-Elect that a federal government wouldn't dare to override the results of any vote aimed at choosing a province's Senate representatives, or would feel the need to spend much time explaining such a choice. And it's hard to see how the mere fact that a voting scheme originated at the federal level would make that much of a difference - particularly when it can so easily be classified as a cynical ploy by a PM notorious for breaking his own promises regarding the Senate.

Ultimately, the question that matters most is whether any Senate vote will be seen as legitimate and/or binding by Canadians as a whole. And given how little support there's been for Harper's scheme aside from those who would have tried to claim just as much legitimacy for Alberta's past votes, it seems likely that even if the plan were to pass, any vote would be ignored far more easily (no matter which party held power) than PMS would like his base to believe.

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