Mr. Pat Martin
Mr. Speaker, Canadians may be even more concerned that the total budget for the Senate is more like $90 million. The House of Commons gets to vote on the $57 million in vote 1, which is the appropriation for the Senate, but some of its funding is in fact statutory.
The fact is that Canadians are wondering why they are paying anything for it. Not only has there been a pattern of abuse, but it serves as an undemocratic barrier to the will of the people as expressed by those elected representatives in the House of Commons, time and time again. There are 133 examples that the researchers at the Library of Parliament found for me where bills were vetoed by the Senate which were passed in the House of Commons.
Nobody elected those guys to make legislation. Senators should have no right to interfere with the will of the House of Commons, and they certainly should have no right to generate bills.
More and more bills that we are dealing with in the House of Commons, as members know, are not called Bill C-51, for example, but rather Bill S-6, Bill S-13, or Bill S-33. The bills are originating in the Senate. Here we are dutifully debating bills that are generated in the other chamber. It is completely upside down. It is completely absurd. If Canadians think about it, this is an affront to democracy and everything that is good and decent about our notion of democracy.
When Sir. John A. Macdonald first crafted the Senate, to cut him some slack, he was two years away from the American Civil War. He was looking south of the border thinking that he could not give too much authority without some checks and balances or God knows what could happen. North America was traumatized. However, that happened not in the last century, but the century before that.
We do not need to be bound by the limitations of John A. Macdonald's thinking when he made that terrible quote about how “We must protect the rights of minorities, and the rich are always fewer in number than the poor”.
Topic: Government Orders
Subtopic: MAIN ESTIMATES 2015-16