Polls clearly show majority of Canadians don't want Senate abolition
Stupid is as stupid does, and one of the stupidest ideas yet proposed in a modern democracy has been championed by a number of politicians on both the right and left of Canada's political spectrum: the abolition of the Senate.
The founders of major nations created Senates with longer terms of office to act as balancing forces against the populist emotional whims and anti-democratic urges that can far too often come sailing through majority parliaments. Only intellectual children ignorant of human history and wannabe despots want Senates abolished.
So as the Conservative Party of Canada looks to rebuild, one of the worst choices they could make would be to take the advice of some columnists at the National Post and make championing Senate abolition a core policy platform.
It shouldn't need to be said to the members of this party – although given its walloping at the hands of the Liberal Party and its inexperienced pot-smoking drama teacher last October, one cannot take anything for granted anymore in assuming collective or individual intelligence – but the staff columnists at the National Post are either closet NDPers, those rejected from influence in the Liberal Party, angry cousins of the mother of Pierre Trudeau's love child, or perpetually wrong, or some combination thereof.
If you want to lose elections on the right side of the spectrum, listen to them.
Michael Den Tandt claims that the Canadian public overwhelmingly supports Senate abolition:
If there is a pathway to abolition – one that forces the hands of provincial legislators, making a consensus practically achievable – it is via a national referendum in which the vote goes massively in favour of abolition. It's difficult to foresee circumstances, even absent another big spending scandal, in which the outcome wouldn't be upwards of 90 per cent for scrapping the place and turning it into a museum.
An unimaginably wrong assessment of public opinion.
Didn't the far-left NDP make Senate abolition a party plank for the general election? And didn't they get spanked at the polls in response, and do they not now sit at less than 12% in the national polls, with their provincial proxies dropping like flies to historic lows in recent elections and getting turfed out of office? Thought that might have been the case.
EKOS polling has been measuring support for Senate abolition since 1994, and over 22 years it has never climbed above 59%. In fact, the trend line has been downhill, and the expense scandals of the past few years have only decreased, not increased, support for abolition. As of mid-2015, it stood at just 46%.
These results are consistent with recent data coming from other organizations. A CBC/Nanos poll from June 2013 showed that only 41% wanted to abolish the Senate. An Angus Reid poll from March 2015 also had support at 41%.
Current support could be far lower. A Harris/Decima poll in late May and early June of 2015 came in with just 28% support for abolition.
The answer for the current problems isn't the juvenile and quasi-authoritarian knee-jerk Senate abolition response that would be an electoral disaster for any party to get behind; it is the so-called Triple-E Senate (equal, elected, and effective) that the former Reform Party championed in the 1990s.