Cards on the table time. I’m a senate supporter. It seems there’s not many of those in Canada these days, but I’m one of them. I feel the senate performs a vital function in our House of Commons, and does so specifically because it is an unelected body with lifetime appointments. I feel there are probably tweaks that could be made in the appointment process, and possibly to the rather arbitrary arrangement of seats per province, but aside from that I feel that if we lost the senate, or even significantly changed it, it would significantly harm our Canadian ideals of both “order” and “good governance” that our motto ascribes to us.
So I was quite happy when the Supreme Court shut down Mr. Harper’s proposals to be able to unilaterally change the make-up of our senate, or worse, abolish it completely. I’m equally happy that he’s claimed there will be no referendum on the issue to continue this debate, although what his word is worth is doubtful. But I’m just angry that so much time and money has been wasted on this garbage over the last eight years while in the mean time really useful and needed information, like a report on the skills gap in Canada, is being shelved due to a lack of funding being available for Statistics Canada (check out the International News Desk for more information on this, if you’re interested.)
I’m not a supporter of Mr. Harper’s brand of conservatism. Nor have I been ever since his first day in office back in 2006, when he announced that Mr. Michael Fortier, a man who has been soundly rejected each and every time he came up for a public election, would be his first appointment to the Senate, mere weeks after he had stated that he would not appoint anybody unelected as a senator. Being so brazenly cavalier with his word made me instantly dislike the man, and his subsequent actions to subverting our democratic institutions since have not improved that impression one bit. But that said, I will admit that he does get some things right. Most notably this happens when those things have nothing to do with policy within Canada, such as our reaction to the actions in the Ukraine. In this, I agree with Hazel Anaka, who this week has a follow-up article on the issue that is certainly worth a read.
Also worth a read in this issue is Wanda Waterman’s “In Conversation”. This is part three of her interview with poet Patrick Woodcock, and in it he tells a story about his time in Iraq and some of the dangers there. If you haven’t been reading this series already, this is a great installment to start with and gives you some feel as to how extremes can really affect a person and their work.
In our Meeting the Minds article this week, we talk to Dr. Laurie Milne of AU’s anthropology department, including her opinions on e-texts, online exams, and Finn the Farting Pug. Although to be honest, we don’t talk a lot about Finn. Once you have the name, what else is there that can be said, after all.
Before I let you go, I’d also like to take a moment to point out that we have, at long last, a new AUSU update. I point this out because by now I’m sure most people simply skip it, and there’s some good information in the new version they’ve sent up, so it’d be a loss if you did. That, plus our usual cavalcade of tips, advice, and thought-provoking articles should hopefully keep you busy until next week. Until then!