Tuesday, September 18, 2012

History of Triple-E: one for the archives now?

It is great to see a dumb idea whose time has come -- and gone. On Senate reform, Chantal Hébert writes:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper may be about to bury his party’s grand plan until at least the next federal election and, possibly, for all time.
The constitution makers of the 1860s had it about right: Democratic legitimacy rests in the representative lower house and the executive accountable to it. An upper house is only acceptable to the extent it does nothing serious to challenge the representative house.

The Triple-E movement was always a powerful expression of a certain strain of western anger and alienation. Trouble is, Triple-E has always been bad for the west, has always promised an upper house in which those westerners' interests would be even more certainly marginalized.  (Do the math: BC already has more than 10% of Canada's population and Alberta soon will.  By definition, Triple-E underrepresents them both, even if the territories were unrepresented. That's not a problem Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, or New Brunswick are likely to have.)

So Triple-E always sounded good as a complaint and a demand.  But when the westerners get into power, slowly reason began to prevail. "We've demanded this thing for thirty years. But geez, do we really have to go through with it?"

Hébert again:
The ranks of those who would simply do away with the Senate have grown steadily since Harper first came to power.
Actually, I'm okay with the Senate surviving so long as it actually doesn't do anything. Abolition would not be easy. But if there are to be changes, abolition is the only one worth pursuing.

Follow @CmedMoore