Thursday, December 5, 2013

Guest Article: A Case for a Canadian House of Lords

(the following was written by guest contributor Alberta Royalist)

Continuing from before, the problems with the Canadian Senate date back to its very inception by the Father's of Confederation, who chose to adopt a mixed form of government, combining elements from both the British and US systems of government. This naturally made sense for the most part, as it would be quite impractical to adopt what was then a British centralized government, for a country as vast as Canada.

However in the context of the Federal Upper House, this resulted in a chamber that resembled the U.S. Senate, but with a British House of Lords influence in that its members would be appointed for life. Also like in the British House of Lords, Senators would be appointed from the upper class and serve as a sort of non-hereditary nobility, who would apply the brakes when needed on bad legislation originating from the mob-appointed (I mean democratically elected) Canadian House of Commons. Indeed a residuary feature of this is the requirement that Senators own $4,000 worth of land in the province they are supposed to represent, and another $4,000 above any debt or liabilities they might have.

Unfortunately the end result was that the Senate combined the worst elements of both the British and American upper chambers, without any of the benefits. For as I said before, Senators were beholden to the prime minister and to a lesser extent, the political party who appointed them, but at least they were able to exercise greater independence with the passage of time. However with the adoption of the lie that only the Commons held genuine legitimacy because of its election by the mob (sorry the people), coupled with the so-called reform of 1965 which forced senators to retire at 75, the Senate had become largely irreverent, and no longer does the job for which it was intended.

Nevertheless the desire of the Canadian founding fathers for a chamber "of second sober thought", to counteract the mob mentality of the House of Commons and autocratic prime ministers, is just as relevant, if not more so today than it was at the creation of the country in 1867. However in the case of the upper federal chamber, we must totally abandon any influence from the American Senate which is even more useless today than it was at its inception, and embrace for our inspiration the legacy of that most venerable of institutions, the British House of Lords; by replacing the Senate with a Canadian House of Lords.

However we must avoid a major flaw of the pre-1911 British upper house, namely the right of the sovereign to theoretically appoint an unlimited number of peers to sit in the House of Lords, which despicable politicians exploited as a Trojan house to first undermine and then destroy the traditional House of Lords, starting in 1832 but brought to fulfillment in 1911, 1949, and 1999; thereby not only changing the British upper house into today's abominable parody of its former self, that serves as a largely useless check against autocratic prime ministers, and the ever increasing usurpations of national sovereignty from the EU.

I thus propose as a solution to this problem that we Canadians take for our inspiration, the British Acts of Union of 1707 & 1801 to create peerages for each of the ten provinces and the three territories, whose members would be appointed by the governor general, from a list of say, three candidates for each peerage, drawn up by the respective lieutenant governors who would be consulted in turn, by an advisory council. Taking as our inspiration the Advisory Council of the Order of Canada, these "peerage advisory councils" if you will, would comprise the senior judges, clerks of the privy councils, chancellors of the major universities, and the heads of the heritage, culture and arts councils in each of the provinces and territories; charged with compiling a list of candidates for each seat in the peerage; based on a criteria of exceptional service or merit performed for their province in areas like science or the arts for example, or through their actions, have repeatedly demonstrated high standards of military or civilian service.

However the Governor General would still required the consultation of Her Majesty before each appointment, and she would be able to overrule the governor general and appoint a different candidate if she desired. Naturally this process would be free from interference from the politicians, meaning the premiers and the prime minister would have no say in the process, with the Queen and her viceregal representatives free to act at their own discretion.

Naturally these peers would be hereditary, with the automatic right to sit in the newly established Chamber of Peers, that would comprise the new upper chamber in each of the provincial and territorial legislatures, with the method of hereditary succession conforming with salic law, unless exempted by Her Majesty. However learning from the lesson of history, there would be a maximum number of peers in each province and territory of say fifty, with the creation of a new peerage conditional upon the extinction of an existing one. Once created, the peers in the provinces and territories would meet to elect from among themselves, representative peers to sit in the Canadian House of Lords, with each province entitled to ten seats in the upper house save for tiny P.E.I (Prince Edward Island) which would have three, while each of the territories would have five; resulting in a House of Lords comprised of 108 members, which is slightly larger then the current senate. A major advantage of this composition, would be to prevent the largest provinces of Ontario and Quebec from dominating the Upper House, as they currently do in the Senate.

Upon their election these representative peers would, in addition to their original peerage, be automatically elevated to the Peerage of Canada, with the Governor General free to determine the rank and precedent of  the ennobled, with the option of elevating their dignity at a late date. However unlike their provincial and territorial counterpart, the Canadian peerage would be for life and not hereditary, but with no imposed mandatory retirement age in contrast to the current Senate.

The benefits of having a Canadian peerage and a House of Lords are obvious, but to sum up again, its members would no longer be lackeys of whatever prime minister was in power, thereby greatly reducing his already enormous power, while serving as a check on the mob elected Commons, and reducing the number of bad and irresponsible bills that become law. Likewise despite being appointed by the monarch, these peers would far more likely owe their appointment to merit rather than the sort of cynical patronage that we currently observe with senators. At the same time, the far more stringent requirements for selection, nomination, and appointment as peers, compared with the current process for senators, would reduce the likelihood of celebrities and political cronies being appointed, as wealth, fame and close association with the prime minister and his political party, would not be enough to secure an appointment.

But most crucially of all, the hereditary nature of their position means that peers would not owe their position to wealthy corporate or individual backers, or be subject to the power of party whips, thereby making it possible for them act independently and vote according to their conscience. Likewise by virtue of the hereditary principle, these peers could give their sons, cousins or nearest family relative, lifelong training for the job, which would make them far more qualified and competent at doing their job, than present day senators. This coupled with liberation from fear of being removed by mandatory retirement, and from fear arising from the "democratic legitimacy" mentality; means that peers would weld their power for more effectively at keeping the premiers and prime minister, along with the lower chambers at the federal, provincial and territorial level in check, than the poor imitation senators ever could.

It is my contention that by looking though history we see time and time again, a remedy to our political woes, rather than striving to keep reinventing the wheel every time and making a terrible hash at it, and the fact is the British House of Lords worked very effectively for centuries, before it was ruined by self-serving politicians, and with a few corrections and some tailoring to meet our Canadian requirements, there is no reason why this same principle cannot work just as well in guarding our liberties, as it did our ancestors. Likewise it is learning from the lessons of history that has made me a reactionary, a patriot Anglo-Canadian and above all, a proud Alberta Royalist.

1 comment:

  1. Would you give this Canadian House of Lords the power to block supply?


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