Sunday, January 16, 2011

A rich history

The Globe and Mail helpfully reminds us of the history of the Canadian Senate:
The Senate has always been a House under a cloud.

The Fathers of Confederation cobbled it together in part to protect people like themselves against the rabble, which is why senators still have to meet a property qualification: “We must protect the rights of minorities, and the rich are always fewer in number than the poor,” as Sir John A. Macdonald put it.
And on this point at least, Stephen Harper can proudly claim to be the heir to MacDonald's legacy of using the Senate as a means for the better-off to override the will of the masses. Just ask Larry Smith:
Recently appointed Conservative Senator Larry Smith on Wednesday denied he’s using the Senate to boost his chances of becoming an MP, saying he has taken a “dramatic, catastrophic” pay cut to serve the public.
“In simple terms, he added, “the money I was earning in my last profession to where I would be in this profession is what I would call a dramatic, catastrophic pay cut. And I have a family — I have obligations.”

Senators are paid an annual salary of $132,300.

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