By Karyn Pugliese | Published March 23rd, 2012
Watch on ichannel or online Monday March 26 at 8 pm ET
It’s funny when one of the first questions you ask a politician is to justify their existence.
But that’s the question @I_LuvTO wanted us to ask. “Don’t you think the Senate is undemocratic and should be abolished?” she tweeted. The NDP opposition would agree. Scrapping the Senate was part of their election platform, but not Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau.
“I don’t believe scrapping the Senate is the answer,” says Brazeau. “But having said that, obviously like any political institution or other institution there’s always the opportunity for improvement, and that’s why the Conservatives have tried to reform the Senate, to make it more accountable and democratic. “
In fact the Conservative government tried 4 times to reform the Senate since 2006, but could not get a Bill through the House of Commons during the minority years. Now that they have a strong stable national majority government – and also a majority in the Senate – they are trying for a fifth time. Their latest Bill would see provinces elect Senators and limit Senate terms to nine years. The question is: will the Senators support a Bill that could effectively put them out of a job, they could otherwise keep until they are 75 years of age?
Brazeau points out that even without the Bill provinces could decide to elect Senators. Alberta currently has two elected Senators. But he says electing Senators needs further thought and discussion.
“For example, what is that going to do to the accountability and credibility of members of Parliament that are also elected? There could be a clash of power,” he says.
And as for the nine year terms, would Senator Brazeau vote himself out of the job?
“In any job I guess the key is to work yourself out of a job. Obviously being the youngest Senator I could be out of a job in about a decade and I would still consider myself to be young even a decade from now,” says Brazeau, who is turning 38. “But there are others who get named to the Senate at an older age, who have had careers and have made many contributions, so that’s another level debate that needs to take place. But the bottom line is that the Conservatives have put that issue on the table so that people can start debating it, and I think it’s a healthy thing.”
Tory101 wanted to know if it’s time to eliminate reserves and get rid of treaty rights for Aboriginal People, we have questions on accountability, and of course – many of you wanted to know about his upcoming charity boxing match with Justin Trudeau.
We have all that and more Monday March 26 at 8 pm ET.