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What should Canada get rid of first?

View Poll Results: What should Canada get rid of first?
The Monarchy 30 50.85%
The Senate 29 49.15%
Voters: 59. You may not vote on this poll

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Old
03-05-2013, 12:54 PM
  #26
Roughneck
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Quote:
Originally Posted by No Fun Shogun View Post
No. "Crown" is just synonymous with "government" in that sense. Getting rid of the monarchy would have zero impact on that.
The Crown is the state, not the government.

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03-05-2013, 12:57 PM
  #27
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Well now that thome has stepped in to tell us how pointless this debate is, why isn't everyone just leaving? Clearly an Alberta conservative's opinion on the monarchy and senate should trump everyone else's.

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03-05-2013, 01:24 PM
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KirkP View Post
Well now that thome has stepped in to tell us how pointless this debate is, why isn't everyone just leaving? Clearly an Alberta conservative's opinion on the monarchy and senate should trump everyone else's.
I encourage you to respond to the questions I asked in the thread. I look forward to seeing seriously considered (or at least, the start of such) ideas for fundamentally altering our constitution.

You accuse me of 'ending' the thread. I think I'm the only one who's actually tried to give it a start.

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03-05-2013, 01:24 PM
  #29
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I want to abolish the Senate and Monarchy the same way I like the other side of town. Yeah, I guess. But I'd rather just sit here.

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03-05-2013, 01:26 PM
  #30
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Originally Posted by Transplanted Caper View Post
I want to abolish the Senate and Monarchy the same way I like the other side of town. Yeah, I guess. But I'd rather just sit here.
I had always presumed you were a monarchist... Perhaps not so staunch as I, but still a monarchist.

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03-05-2013, 01:28 PM
  #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roughneck View Post
The Crown is the state, not the government.
Tomato/tomato, especially in a system where the "state" is a figurehead that means nothing.

Fine, then the monarchy gets replaced by the governor general by itself or the Prime Minister absorbs the head of state responsibilities, too. Regardless, no change on the treaties Canada's signed, as they're recognized as the successors of the crown or as the new crown. And I doubt that there's language with First Nations granting tribes authority over having a say in the replacement of Canada's system.

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03-05-2013, 01:30 PM
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by No Fun Shogun View Post
Tomato/tomato, especially in a system where the "state" is a figurehead that means nothing.
Are you kidding? It is a profound difference. The government is not the state. Those states where that is true are places like the People's Republic of China.

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03-05-2013, 01:41 PM
  #33
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Originally Posted by thome_26 View Post
Are you kidding? It is a profound difference. The government is not the state. Those states where that is true are places like the People's Republic of China.
Only in theory is there a difference in Westminster systems. In practice, the state is just the ceremonial representation of the government and the head of state has no real authority beyond which what is given to them by the head of government.

It's just a holdover from ages past when the crown, the actual king/queen and their court, had real power in the UK and when Commonwealth states were still colonies in Canada's case.

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03-05-2013, 01:45 PM
  #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thome_26 View Post
I encourage you to respond to the questions I asked in the thread. I look forward to seeing seriously considered (or at least, the start of such) ideas for fundamentally altering our constitution.
Given it would be a change for the better, a fundamental altering of our constitution is needed to rid ourselves of an unelected, unaccountable and unneeded hindrance like the senate. The monarchy I think is a total waste of time but it's clear that will never change so I'm not going to bother with it.

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03-05-2013, 01:48 PM
  #35
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Originally Posted by KirkP View Post
Given it would be a change for the better, a fundamental altering of our constitution is needed to rid ourselves of an unelected, unaccountable and unneeded hindrance like the senate. The monarchy I think is a total waste of time but it's clear that will never change so I'm not going to bother with it.
Okay, so even if your sensibilities are predisposed to dislike the monarchy, you understand the irrationality and undesirability of trying to change the status of the Canadian monarchy?

I dislike the Senate, too. It needs to change. At the present, other than trying to have provinces select their own Senators so that it is not simply a partisan retirement home for whomever happens to be in government, I'm not sure how any change is possible.

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03-05-2013, 01:52 PM
  #36
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Originally Posted by No Fun Shogun View Post
Only in theory is there a difference in Westminster systems. In practice, the state is just the ceremonial representation of the government and the head of state has no real authority beyond which what is given to them by the head of government.

It's just a holdover from ages past when the crown, the actual king/queen and their court, had real power in the UK and when Commonwealth states were still colonies in Canada's case.
Okay. So, in essence, you have zero clue about the day to day functions of our government and the functioning of our state.

The extent to which there is truth to your statement about the blurring between the state, the government, and -I would include a third category- political parties is an undesirable feature. I don't think the solution is to entrench those problems and move further down the undesirable path. I have said before, I think the Westminster system works best with far less formal political party influence, and with a (slightly) more hands on refereeing responsibility for the crown.

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03-05-2013, 02:03 PM
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thome_26 View Post
Okay, so even if your sensibilities are predisposed to dislike the monarchy, you understand the irrationality and undesirability of trying to change the status of the Canadian monarchy?
Undesirability, yes. Irrationality, no.

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03-05-2013, 02:05 PM
  #38
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Monarchy is like the appendix. You let it be unless you get appendicitis.

What I would remove is allegiance to the Queen part in the Citizenship oath. It is ridiculous that someone cannot be a good citizen without being faithful to the Queen.

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03-05-2013, 02:05 PM
  #39
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I think the Senate can serve a valuable role, and sometimes does, but for the most part its been stuffed with so many political hacks, it's almost beyond reform.

I think an ideal solution would be to have a bi-partisan committee formed to choose the Senators. They could nominate people who have a long history of being leaders in their field. They would have a term limit of 10 years.

Senators wouldn't be able to overturn legislation passed by the House of Commons, but they would be able to recommend amendments. They could produce reports on pressing issues and making recommendations to the House. Essentially, the Senate would be a place where highly-esteemed Canadians with a history of strong work would get a chance to make a meaningful contribution to Canadian life. In theory they wouldn't be bound by the pressures of politics but would be able to contribute their knowledge of subjects to make legislation better. In theory.

I think that would be far more meaningful than having election, or silly suggestions like having an equal number of Senators per province. (Why should PEI get the same representation as Ontario? They're already vastly over-represented in the House.)

As for the monarchy, I don't really see it as a big deal. I think having a head of state who is supposedly above politics is important. Whether its a queen or a president or emperor, I don't really care, as long as they can represent all Canadians with dignity, intelligence and respect, and without politics being involved.

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03-05-2013, 02:15 PM
  #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thome_26 View Post
Okay. So, in essence, you have zero clue about the day to day functions of our government and the functioning of our state.

The extent to which there is truth to your statement about the blurring between the state, the government, and -I would include a third category- political parties is an undesirable feature. I don't think the solution is to entrench those problems and move further down the undesirable path. I have said before, I think the Westminster system works best with far less formal political party influence, and with a (slightly) more hands on refereeing responsibility for the crown.
The monarchy has no real authority in Canada, the governor general is a ceremonial figure that also has no real authority in Canada, and the prime minister is the one that calls all the shots. It's an institution that serves no purpose other than to be a unifying figurehead, and judging by how there's always debate about how it should or shouldn't be removed I'm not so sure it even does that anymore. The blurring between the state, government, and political parties already exists, there's just the image of having a clean hierarchy that doesn't actually mean anything. Whoever's prime minister at a given time will nominate the person they want to fill the spot, and then the PM goes on about doing their daily business of governance while the new GG just smiles and tries not to do anything controversial. The only difference between the GG and the monarchy is that the monarchy is hereditary, but they still have no real formal power compared to the prime minister, even if things are supposedly done in their name and at their will.

And I don't get your last point. The Westminster system is built around strict party discipline, influence, and power in the lower house and that running through to determine everything.


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03-05-2013, 02:23 PM
  #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Moose View Post
Monarchy is like the appendix. You let it be unless you get appendicitis.

What I would remove is allegiance to the Queen part in the Citizenship oath. It is ridiculous that someone cannot be a good citizen without being faithful to the Queen.
It isn't like the oath is to her flesh and blood. It is to the the monarch as the embodiment of the state. And I don't think there is anything ridiculous at all. Does it make sense to swear an oath to a piece of centuries old parchment? Anything can be farcical if you choose to view it in such a fashion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Habsfunk View Post
I think the Senate can serve a valuable role, and sometimes does, but for the most part its been stuffed with so many political hacks, it's almost beyond reform.

I think an ideal solution would be to have a bi-partisan committee formed to choose the Senators. They could nominate people who have a long history of being leaders in their field. They would have a term limit of 10 years.

Senators wouldn't be able to overturn legislation passed by the House of Commons, but they would be able to recommend amendments. They could produce reports on pressing issues and making recommendations to the House. Essentially, the Senate would be a place where highly-esteemed Canadians with a history of strong work would get a chance to make a meaningful contribution to Canadian life. In theory they wouldn't be bound by the pressures of politics but would be able to contribute their knowledge of subjects to make legislation better. In theory.

I think that would be far more meaningful than having election, or silly suggestions like having an equal number of Senators per province. (Why should PEI get the same representation as Ontario? They're already vastly over-represented in the House.)

As for the monarchy, I don't really see it as a big deal. I think having a head of state who is supposedly above politics is important. Whether its a queen or a president or emperor, I don't really care, as long as they can represent all Canadians with dignity, intelligence and respect, and without politics being involved.
There is some sense in what you have said here. Ideally, the Senate could be exactly as you propose (and as was meant to be); the house of sober second thought. Senators should be chosen by the crown and not the Prime Minister. The GG could serve as the chairman of a selection committee which selects distinguished Canadians. The funny thing is what you're describing is, essentially, what we're supposed the have. The problem is the neutering of the crown has made it an unelected second partisan house. The senate still actually does perform many of these functions even when we don't hear/see them.

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03-05-2013, 02:29 PM
  #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by No Fun Shogun View Post
The monarchy has no real authority in Canada, the governor general is a ceremonial figure that also has no real authority in Canada, and the prime minister is the one that calls all the shots. It's an institution that serves no purpose other than to be a unifying figurehead, and judging by how there's always debate about how it should or shouldn't be removed I'm not so sure it even does that anymore. The blurring between the state, government, and political parties already exists, there's just the image of having a clean hierarchy that doesn't actually mean anything. Whoever's prime minister at a given time will nominate the person they want to fill the spot, and then the PM goes on about doing their daily business of governance while the new GG just smiles and tries not to do anything controversial. The only difference between the GG and the monarchy is that the monarchy is hereditary, but they still have no real formal power compared to the prime minister, even if things are supposedly done in their name and at their will.

And I don't get your last point. The Westminster system is built around strict party discipline, influence, and power in the lower house and that running through to determine everything.
Don't confuse the absence of the exercise of power with the absence of power. I am no fan of the way in which the GG has moved towards being a simple roaming goodwill ambassador. But where some see the solution in electing a president, I see the solution as being in correcting the system.

And sorry, but the Westminster system was not built around strict party discipline. What we see in Canada now is not some inherent/necessary aspect of the Westminster system at all.

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03-05-2013, 02:32 PM
  #43
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Originally Posted by thome_26 View Post
It isn't like the oath is to her flesh and blood. It is to the the monarch as the embodiment of the state. And I don't think there is anything ridiculous at all. Does it make sense to swear an oath to a piece of centuries old parchment? Anything can be farcical if you choose to view it in such a fashion.
If you want to view it that way, sure. IMO would be more accurate to swear allegiance to Canada, not to the Queen. It is obvious that someone who is staunchly anti-monarchy is put in difficult position, if he chooses to stay true to his beliefs. I hope you agree that being a convinced republican doesn't disqualify one from being a good Canadian citizen.

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03-05-2013, 02:36 PM
  #44
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Originally Posted by thome_26 View Post
Don't confuse the absence of the exercise of power with the absence of power. I am no fan of the way in which the GG has moved towards being a simple roaming goodwill ambassador. But where some see the solution in electing a president, I see the solution as being in correcting the system.

And sorry, but the Westminster system was not built around strict party discipline. What we see in Canada now is not some inherent/necessary aspect of the Westminster system at all.
I am not sure what you mean. You want an unelected person to have real political power? I think your opinions run contrary to the majority of Canadians whose support or indifference towards monarchy is predicated exactly on them having any real power. I wonder how many angry calls to abolish the monarchy we would have heard from conservatives if the GG did not permit Harper to prorogue in 2008, which would have been perfectly within her powers.

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03-05-2013, 02:38 PM
  #45
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Originally Posted by The Moose View Post
I am not sure what you mean. You want an unelected person to have real political power? I think your opinions run contrary to the majority of Canadians whose support or indifference towards monarchy is predicated exactly on them having any real power. I wonder how many angry calls to abolish the monarchy we would have heard from conservatives if the GG did not permit Harper to prorogue in 2008, which would have been perfectly within her powers.
The senate has loads of power as things are right now.

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03-05-2013, 02:39 PM
  #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thome_26 View Post
Don't confuse the absence of the exercise of power with the absence of power. I am no fan of the way in which the GG has moved towards being a simple roaming goodwill ambassador. But where some see the solution in electing a president, I see the solution as being in correcting the system.

And sorry, but the Westminster system was not built around strict party discipline. What we see in Canada now is not some inherent/necessary aspect of the Westminster system at all.
For the first part, that power has long since passed. If a GG did try to exercise power over the PM in this day and age, there'd be a crackdown against the GG faster than you can say, "King–Byng Affair."

As for the second.... uh, yeah it is? A Prime Minister losing a single vote has been enough to topple the entire premiership before and as such you can reliably expect essentially every single thing they want passed should it make it to the floor.

The Westminster system is absolutely built around an exceedingly powerful central authority rested around the party in power. It's not like in the U.S., where checks and balances (and gridlock and gridlock and gridlock) exist that put the breaks up every which way forcing sides to compromise (or, as recently, just screw around). Or like other European systems built around coalition-building.

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03-05-2013, 02:41 PM
  #47
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I had always presumed you were a monarchist... Perhaps not so staunch as I, but still a monarchist.
Oh, I suppose I am. Just feeling a bit glib this afternoon.

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03-05-2013, 02:45 PM
  #48
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The senate has loads of power as things are right now.
Which is not a good thing.

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03-05-2013, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by The Moose View Post
Which is not a good thing.
It's a horrible, horrible thing.

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03-05-2013, 02:56 PM
  #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Moose View Post
If you want to view it that way, sure. IMO would be more accurate to swear allegiance to Canada, not to the Queen. It is obvious that someone who is staunchly anti-monarchy is put in difficult position, if he chooses to stay true to his beliefs. I hope you agree that being a convinced republican doesn't disqualify one from being a good Canadian citizen.
I'm sorry, but from my perspective you are trying to make a distinction where one does not exist. Swearing an oath to the Queen of Canada is swearing an oath to Canada.

You are swearing an oath to the embodiment of our state. This embodiment is the Queen instead of a piece of fabric (flag) or a piece of paper (constitution) or any other object.

The Oath doesn't ask you to swear to believe in the superiority of the monarchical system. However, insofar as you recognize our state and acknowledge the Queen is the head of state, I see zero conflict being placed upon republicans.

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I am not sure what you mean. You want an unelected person to have real political power? I think your opinions run contrary to the majority of Canadians whose support or indifference towards monarchy is predicated exactly on them having any real power. I wonder how many angry calls to abolish the monarchy we would have heard from conservatives if the GG did not permit Harper to prorogue in 2008, which would have been perfectly within her powers.
Power to supervise and protect the democratic process. I think those Canadians which also support an unelected judiciary, logically, would support this, too. The GG/Monarch should not have day to day influence/involvement in the governing of Canada, of course. But we have begin to cede some of the advantages of an unelected head of state.

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