Canadian Senate reforming
Connections with We Are Different and A Better Organization
By Lev Shakhmundes
Justin Trudeau, leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, made a shocking announcement on Wednesday, January 29, 2014. This news item contained the following:
"The Senate is suffering from both partisanship and patronage and its party structure interferes with its ability to act as a chamber of sober second thought because senators must do what’s best for their party rather than their country," Mr. Trudeau said.
Front page of the next day’s Globe and Mail gave another insight (the ... is not ours):
“The Senate must be non-partisan, composed merely of thoughtful individuals … independent from any particular political brand,” Mr. Trudeau said on Wednesday morning, after expelling the senators from caucus.
In the cacophony of comments in the media, these underlying ideas were hardly mentioned.
The peculiarity of the Canadian Parliament is that the members of the House of Commons must march to the drum of the Prime Minister, or the leader of their party, so must the members of the Senate. That is, until now, as the Liberal senators are given independence. And as everyone else in the country they were shocked. They apparently rejected their individual independence by creating right away the Liberal caucus within the Senate.
To connect this remarkable event with our work let us first turn to We Are Different, the book published in 1999.
In chapter Politics and Leaders, pp 49-50, we read:
Let’s call a leadership structure the entire layout of the decision making process ... in any societal entity generally and in a country in particular.
Then, the following definition is offered:
The leadership structure of a country is a strong leadership structure if it (1) is able to identify objectively the interests of the country, (2) has a vision of the country’s future that reflects upon the interests and changing conditions, and (3) is capable of creating and maintaining support for the progression towards the vision and its evolutions.
Note the emphasis on interests of the country.
Material on this subject in A Better Organization culminates in Proposition 26.1. It is reproduced below.
No fixed term for senators
The longevity of its members makes the upper house of parliament (Senate) the place in government where adherence to the public interest is most likely. Appointment of senators, as compared to election, is conducive to a higher likelihood. In either case, it is decisive that the term is not to be limited to a few years.
Longevity is necessary for independence. You cannot afford to be thoughtful if you are not independent.
Page last updated on February 24, 2014; created on February 19, 2014