Canada coa_shield

with some "inked-in" relative to my essay and brief "On guard in a global environment," v.E.

Thirty-eight senators, i.e. somewhat fewer than half of all those sitting, held private talks about improvements to the operations and practices of the Red Chamber. Attendees included senators from the Conservative and Liberal Independent caucuses and Independents.  3

The sessions were hosted by Senators Paul J. Massicotte and Stephen Greene with the assistance of Senators Scott Tannas and Larry Campbell. A major concern expressed by Senator Massicotte, is that "Human nature is such that people are always scared with change and they're always hesitant and so this is a process that is complicated for many." Find below a questionnaire along with senators' responses, plus comments inked in by this essayist in the light of issues raised in the essay. Unfortunately, a senatorial response showed an utter lack of grasping what this essay is about. As said before, I am getting the impression that an overload of issues and emails leaves too little time and energy to get things right, quite aside from the fear of thinking "out of the box."  4

Recommendations found at the end of this appendix are based on where broad consensus was reached.  5

Statement 1-A
In defining the proposed Senate's constitutional role, John A. Macdonald in 1865, said the following: "There would be no use of an Upper House, if it did not exercise, when it thought proper, the right of opposing or amending or postponing the legislation of the Lower House. It would be of no value whatever were it a mere chamber for registering the decrees of the Lower House. It must be an independent House, having a free action of its own, for it is only valuable as being a regulating body, calmly considering the legislation initiated by the popular branch, but it will never set itself in opposition against the deliberate and understood wishes of the people."  

Question 1-A1
Do you agree that the statements by John A. MacDonald of 150 years ago and the Supreme Court of Canada in 2014 are relatively consistent?  

Response and analysis
      Consistent: 96%      Not consistent: 4%
Answers ranged from simple agreement, emphatic agreement, and further—many answers suggested these quotes form a 'starting point' for the role the Senate plays. The only answers to disagree did so because Senators believed the Senate's role should be expanded.  

The quote attributed to Sir John A. concerns the Senate's legislative role. But from the outset it included a regional representative role and a protective role as well—notably the safeguarding of Francophone Catholics against Anglophone Protestants. For some additional relevant detail, see Chapter 4 of this essay.  n9

Question 1-A2
Do you agree that the modern Senate of Canada, and any changes made to its operations and practices, must be consistent with the constitutional principles as laid down by John A Macdonald and the Supreme Court of Canada?  

Response and analysis
      Agree: 93%      Disagree: 7%
Most Senators agreed. Many went on to say basically "the Senate needs to do its job, and these statements describe the job." One Senator who disagreed again thought the role of the Senate should expand unfettered by MacDonald's limit of never going against the will of the people. Another Senator who disagreed, suggested there is no problem with the Senate's rules or practices—instead the Senate has fallen into trouble because it is not only voting in line with the HOC, but taking their opinions as well, thus compromising the deliberative capacity of the Senate.  

The Senate's role should be expanded to take into account global exigencies! To anticipate what's coming around the corner and provide advice to our government to speed up its capability to respond, see Chapter 10: Whence from here?. As to the paragraph "Better senators". I do not mean to slight any individuals—our senators are by-and-large outstanding people of proven capability—but we do need to widen the scope of our Senate's blend of talents and experiences.  n9A

Let's ponder a bit on "the will of the people" by reading the two chapters about Democary in peril while bearing in mind Bagehot's "if we had an ideal House of Commons ... it is certain we should not need a higher Chamber."  n11

Question 1-A3
Are you satisfied that the Senate's current practices, procedures, conventions and rules enable the Senate to perform its constitutional role in Canadian democracy as expressed by Macdonald and the Supreme Court?  

Response and analysis
      Satisfied: 81%      Not satisfied: 19%
Those that were satisfied, were mostly so because they believe the Senate requires only cultural change. Other Senators suggested that rules and practices force partisan conflict. Many answers gave specific examples of how rules and practices are an impediment to the Senate doing its job.  

Question 1-A4
If your answer to A3. is "no," what are the two or three main problems or blockages that prevent the Senate from fulfilling its role? How would you propose to solve or remove them?  

Response and analysis
While Senators gave detailed answers, there was a clear message that Senators need to muster the will to change the practice of partisanship in the Senate.  15

Detailed answers
      • The main blockage is what can be called "institutional partisanship." While partisanship on some level is to be expected, even encouraged, we have, over time, institutionalized the role of party so that it is very difficult for Senators to escape it and to vote in any way but the party line. Voting for the party line is not what the Senate was composed to do.
      • The three main problems in my opinion are:
            1. Appointment of leadership by the House of Commons
            2. Selection of the Speaker in a partisan manner
            3. Absolute power in a partisan leadership
      • Senators should not participate in its political party meetings, maintaining some independence as its purpose dictates. Every Senator should also remind and pursue "the best interest of Canada" in its deliberations without regard to the politics ....
      • To my mind, it will be necessary to develop a will that can change how we do business. The election of the speaker by the Senate, the election of Chairs and Vice Chairs of the committees by the Senate, the review of rules that do not enhance debate but rather stifle it. The idea that one person can hold the Senate hostage simply by taking adjournments and never letting it see the light of day must be changed. The aim should be to further discussion and debate, not stop it with archaic rules. To be clear, both sides are guilty of this and it leads to deadlock which then means we are not doing our job.  

Statement B
More recently, in 2014, the Supreme Court said, "the Senate is one of Canada's foundational political institutions. It lies at the heart of the agreements that gave birth to the Canadian federation." The Supreme Court further confirmed, "the Senate's fundamental nature and role as a complementary legislative chamber of sober second thought," not a competing body.  

Question 1-B1
Do you agree that a Senators' legislative role encompasses particular sensitivity to our regions, minorities and under-represented segments of our population, to seek and achieve the best possible legislation?  

Response and analysis
      Yes: 82%      No: 11%      Secondary issues: 7%
Most Senators agreed this was an important dynamic of the Senate with about 7% saying these were secondary issues and others saying the issue is not important at all. Disagreement was based around a federal interpretation of the Senate: an institution concerned by Federal law, federal policies, federal legislation, and so should only involve in regional issues when they touch on federal powers.  

Federal legislation encompasses, as far as I know, our Constitution and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Both enshrine minority rights, albeit of different kinds, and our Senate ought to be sensitive to them. Much time has gone by since Senator Joyal edited "Protecting Canadian Democracy," but it is still a good read; in fact, it seems to me a "must read" for our senators (and our MPs as well).  n18

And on this topic: It is quite clear that there is something wrong with the process of appointing senators. It should include that the Governor-General ensures himself that any appointee has adequate insight into his or her role as senator. (As indeed heads of riding associations should ensure themselves that candidates standing for election have adequate preparation. If hairdressers need a license in order to practice, what about those who govern a country?)  n18A

Question 1-B2
Do you also believe that Senators' fundamental role and purpose includes work on Senate Committees to study and report on matters relevant to our society, to seek and achieve the best possible Committee reports? If not, please explain how you see this role and Committee work.  

Response and analysis
      Yes: 100%
There is enormous support throughout the questionnaire for a Senate built from the committee level outward. Senators shared numerous strong ideas for expanding the role and prominence of committee work. This is one of only two unanimous results.  

Yes, there is hope! I am proposing that our Senate develop a capability to guide our elected representatives toward standing on guard for Canada in a global environment that is both dangerous and complex. This involves working more effectivily. Please turn to the essay's "Part II: Heart of our darkness: Urgent, complex issues" and note the need for better integrating diverse insights. Then turn to the two chapters on optimizing the Senate's effectiveness, starting here. After having gone through this exercise, it ought to be clear that many responses to the questionnaire about modernizing our Senate are rather irrelevant to what I believe is really needed.  n20

However the Senate's Speaker eventually will be appointed or elected, I believe it is fortunate that at the time of this writing (Dec. 16, 2015) we have a Speaker appointed by the government. Why? Because one expects a good rapport between him and the committee to be appointed for making recommendations for filling the vacant seats. (Seven initially, I understand, the remaining 15 in the course of 2016.) In this connection, please, refer to my essay's Chapter 18, "Selection and tenure of senators".  n20A

Having never ever been near Parliament, there are many questions I can't pass jugment on—procedural questions mainly.  n21

Question 2-A
If you were assigned to develop the operations of an upper house for Canada from scratch whose primary function was to be the review of Government legislation, how would you organize the ideal Senate assembly of 105 committed, and wise, Senators? What would be your key issues or organizing principles?  

Response and analysis
Senators gave detailed answers that were difficult to quantify.

Some selected answers
      • I think I would pretty much follow the thinking of the original framers of Canada, but I would not allow Senators to sit in National Caucuses.
      • The key fundamental organizing principle for Senators is obvious .... do the job that our Constitution requires of us i.e. be an effective check and balance on the actions of the Lower House, including the Executive - the solution is obvious and straightforward and is within the present ability of each Senatorto do so
      • My primary goal would be to organize the Senate around two things: reviewing legislation and doing large committee studies. This means that at the centre of the entire organization would be committees and the way they function. Using committee's as the core around which all other operating principles revolve ensures that the Senate can focus on doing the meticulous but important work that is often overlooked in the House.  

Statement 2-B
In your ideal Canadian Senate, do you have comments with respect to questions 2-B1—2-B23  

Question 2-B1
The Chamber seating plan: should it follow partisan principles as now or other principles?  

Response and analysis
      Change: 56%      Stay the same: 22%      No comment: 22%
Answers showed an appetite for change. Answers ranged from seating by seniority, alphabetical order, theatre shaped, committee chairs sitting as Ministers do in the HOC, and regional seating. Some thought there is no problem with the current configuration. Others thought it was not an important issue.

Selected questionnaire answers
      • No. It should be in alphabetical order only.
      • No, a mixing should minimize the political differentiations.
      • Seniority, Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs should have greater leadership roles.
      • Waste of time to consider at present, a non-starter—should focus on achievable underlying fundamental issues and if and when that is accomplished go from there forfurther refinements.
      • Perhaps it should be organized along regional lines.
      • No problem with current seating plan.
Rule changes to consider
There is no rule currently obliging Senators where to sit.
Cultural changes to consider
Political parties in the Senate assign desks to Senators.  

Question 2-B2
The Senate calendar: should it be identical to the House of Commons or be sensitive to the flow of legislation?  

Response and analysis
      Sensitive to flow: 78%      Similar to HOC: 15%      No comment: 7%
This answer fits into a theme that runs throughout the answers: The Senate can be different than the House, and should be if it results in doing its job better. Of the respondents who stated it should mirror the HOC, even they suggested the Senate should decide these matters for itself more, instead of relying on a traditional practice of letting the HOC decide automatically. Most answers described a more active role for the Senate in this decision making process. But no one specifically said it should be identical to the House.

Selected questionnaire answers
      • It's appropriate that it more or less copies that of the HoC. But it could also be different for break weeks.
      • There is no reason why we should follow the House of Commons calendar. Basically, we should sit when we have work. Often this will be at the same time as the House of Commons, but sometimes not.
      • No. It should be sensitive to the flow of legislation. In past times it used to be more sensitive, we should return to this.
      • Not necessarily, depending on the workload... Most logical need should dominate.
Rule changes to consider
There are no rules setting the Senate's schedule to be the same as the House of Commons.
Cultural changes to consider
Senators are not asked to agree on a schedule.  

Aren't some issues more urgent than others? Do police and ambulance cars stop for red lights and stop signs?.  n28

Question 2-B3
The weekly schedule: should Senators sit more than 3 days?  

Response and analysis
The various answers given underline this is a complex issue. Canada is large where travel times to Ottawa vary. Many interesting sitting schedule configurations are proposed. However, the question is imprecise. Many Senators pointed out that with Monday committees, the week is not three days. No less than ten Senators criticized the question.  

Question 2-B4
The daily schedule: is it an efficient use of time?  

Response and analysis
      Yes: 30%      No: 59%      No comment: 11%
Answers painted a picture of how the Senate could become more efficient. These answers provided insight into how to improve the operations of this place. Many Senators thought Wednesday mornings could be better used, and that the Chamber should meet Thursday morning, with committees running in the afternoon to help Senators plan for the departure better. Many Senators used this question to also mention that QP should be restricted or abandoned.

Selected questionnaire answers
      • I think that we could be more efficient. If we removed attendance to national caucus, we could have more time for committees and a longer afternoon sitting, as needed.
      • No. It is not efficient. On some days, such as Thursdays, the Senate should sit in the morning and leave the rest of the day, say until 5:00, for committee work.
      • Yes, but prayers and Question Period could be eliminated.
      • Currently I feel that there is a lot of wasted time in the Senate chamber. Many members give speeches for the sake of giving speeches without actually taking any real actions that would help Canadians. This is one reason I have advocated for televising Senate proceedings, to ensure that all Senators only do things they feel add value to debate or achieve results for Canadians.  

Isn't the clock a bane to creative juices?  32n

Question 2-B5
Member's Statements: are they important?  

Response and analysis
      Yes: 93%      No: 7%
Most Senators felt they were important. Some who agreed they were important also felt they were misused or boring.

Selected questionnaire answers
      • No. Eliminate them. They are self-servicing and a monumental bore.
      • Statements enable Senators to focus attention on specific regional events. I believe the fifteen minutes reserved for statements is sufficient.
      • They can be important if used properly. Too often they are used for a personal reason.
      • Yes, but guidance should be given.
They should be confined to raising issues Parliament needs to hear about, consider or understand, not be about personal achievements or stories.
      • Yes, but the personal agendas often demean the Senate's role.
      • Not dramatically, but they frequently are appreciated by constituents.  

Question 2-B6
Question Period:  

Response and analysis
      Waste of time: 93%      Useful: 7%
Most answers were long complaints about QP. Most wished to see an end to questions framed as Opposition and Government. Several answers included suggestions, including perhaps limiting QP to one day a week, or else have it consist of only written questions and answers. Another common suggestion was to reorient QP around committee work.

Selected questionnaire answers
      • It should be abolished. Once in a while, we could use this period to ask questions on the work of committees.
      • I believe in completely eliminating it. Once we have done that, and spent a few months without one, we can determine if we need a QP in a different form.
      • As long as we continue to have a Government Leader or Cabinet Minister in the Senate they need to be able to answer questions.
      • It should either be eliminated or focused on Senate Committee business. Perhaps one day a week could be devoted to questions on government matters directed to a member of the Privy Council (rather like the UK Prime Minister's weekly question period).
      • It serves no useful function and underscores the weakness, not the strength of the, of the Senate. It might have made sense in other times, but it does not make sense now. It would be interesting to know what happens in other federal states with bicameral legislatures, but absent a much improved mechanism that is relevant to our principal functions and strengths, I will not miss it.
      • Important. It presents opportunity for government to be held accountable for its actions/inactions on issues besides legislation.
Rule changes to consider
4-8. (1) During Question Period, a Senator may, without notice, ask a question of:
(a) the Leader of the Government, on a matter relating to public affairs;
(b) a Senator who is a Minister, on a matter relating to that Senator's ministerial responsibility; or (c) a committee Chair, on a matter relating to the activities of the committee.
Cultural Change:
Simply stop asking questions of the Leader, shame any Senator who asks a partisan question to the Leader, shame the Leader when they deliver political talking points.
Cultural changes to consider
Senators replicate the Question Period practice from the Houss of Commons practice.  

Might senators not avail themselves of a distinct intersenatorial email account to avoid sitting through time-wasting scheduled routines?  n36

Question 2-B7
Order Paper:
Part A. Should we change the structure of the Order Paper to enable debate grouping?
Part B. Would you continue the current discussion of bills, with the often-used adjournment of discussion? Would you rather see a lumping of discussion with defined breaks in a defined schedule to allow Senators to further research, develop and finalize their opinions with full knowledge of the schedule. Should time limits be placed on Government legislation, Private Members' Statements, or Senate bills immediately when the bill is introduced? Should final votes be scheduled weeks in advance?  

Response and analysis
Answers were divided, but there was in interest in doing things better even amongst those who gave 'no comment' or wished for the Order Paper to stay the same. For example, letting all Senators know what leaders had agreed to in Scrolls. It is a very open ended question which led some Senators to avoid it.

Selected questionnaire answers
Part A
      Change: 44%      Stay the same: 15%      No comment:41%
      • Modernize with key issues focusing on legislation and committee work.
      • The order of business is fine, but a copy of the Daily Scrolls should be given to all Senators so everyone is aware of what the House Leaders have agreed to deal with on any particular day.
      • Streamline to speed up the process.
Part B
      Change: 74%      Stay the same: 7      No comment:19%
      • On first glance it would appear to be beneficial to have defined breaks to enable further research or preparation work.
      • Pre-determined time frames/schedules most definitely are required—this would negate the current frequency of the often-used adjournment of discussion.
      • I would change the current process and create a defined schedule so that there is certainty around when people are speaking. This will prevent members from delaying a bill from moving forward and also create more certainty around the Senate schedule.
      • Perhaps upon adjournment, the adjourning Senators must speak on the item within a set period of time.
Rule changes to consider
Adjournment is governed by the following rules:
Motion to adjourn Government Business
6-10. (1) If a motion to adjourn debate on an item of Government Business is adopted, the item shall be an order of the day for the next sitting and shall not stand in the name of any Senator.
Motion to adjourn Other Business
6-10. (2) If a motion to adjourn debate on an item of Other Business is adopted, the item shall be an Order of the Day either for the next sitting or for the day specified in the Motion to Adjourn. The item shall stand as an Order of the Day in the name of either the Senator who moved the Motion to Adjourn Debate or another Senator whose name was specified in the Motion to Adjourn Debate.
Senators are always free to suspend a rule:
Cultural changes to consider
Much of the debate schedule is organized by negotiations between caucus leadership groups.  

Question 2-B8
The progress of Government legislation:  

Response and analysis
The voice for change was not loud even amongst those who were calling for change. Likewise, some who said the rules ought to stay the same, also suggested the current rules need to be respected. There was an underlying consensus that government legislation is a priority and must be dealt with one way or another within a reasonable delay.  

Question 2-B9
The progress of private member's bills:  

Response and analysis
      Change: 70%      Stay the same: 11      No comment: 19%
Answers varied from PMBs being important to being a waste of time. Several Senators believed they should be dealt with one way or another. Others suggested they were content with these bills having lesser priority.

Selected questionnaire answers
      • The Senate private members' Bills are a waste of time for the Canadian Taxpayer.
      • We need to fix this so we can confidently deal with all PMBs in a timely fashion, including passing, amending and defeating them as we see fit. I think if we go about doing our job with PMBs, the House will adjust their process to allow amended PMBs to be dealt with in a better fashion.
      • Private members' bills should have third priority.
      • The Senate generally has a more fluid process for the advancement of PMB's than the house does. I believe that there are moments when too much time is spent at committee on a specific PMB. I believe that we should set a standard number of committee witnesses that we hear for each PMB, once those are heard we should vote and move on unless the committee votes to hear further witnesses for more information. This will prevent us from spending multiple weeks on a PMB without a good reason. We should have an obligation to address with reasonable dispatch.  

Some senators seem to take a dim view of what their colleagues can come up with.  n42

Question 2-B10
The progress of Senate bills:  

Response and analysis
      Change: 35%      Stay the same: 26%      No comment: 39%
This question did not garner much comment. Of the few thoughts expressed, there was division. It did not stick out as a vital question for the Senate.  

Question 2-B11
The flow of Chamber Debate:  

Response and analysis
      Change: 22%      Stay the same: 8%      No comment: 70%
This question may have been too vague as 70% declined to answer or wrote "no comment".  

Question 2-B11i
In this ideal Senate, should the rules force a vote on all bills? Should the rules allow their tactical use to delay bills? If so, for how long?  

Response and analysis
      Force vote: 54%      Delay: 19%      If partisanship would change ...: 15%      No comment: 12%
This is another question that may have been too vague. It was avoided by many Senators who seemed to prefer to answer the next question.  

Do rules take precedence over accomplishment?  n48

Question 2-B11ii
Should time limits be placed on Government legislation, Private Member Bills, or Senate bills as soon as they are introduced? Why or why not?  

Response and analysis
      Yes: 52%     No: 30      No comment: 18%
Once again, this question is part of a grouping of answers designed to address a number of ways we organize our work day. Although a consensus does not jump out from these numbers, many Senators shared interesting thoughts and perspectives.

Selected questionnaire answers
      • No, because allowance must be given to the crazy MP or Senator who has an axe to grind, or other eventualities.
      • Time allocation is not a democratic practice. In an ideal world, there would be no time allocation and no delaying tactics.
      • I believe the House of Lords has a time limit with government legislation. If the Senate doesn't like a bill, it should be amended and sent back, not delayed.
      • On Government legislation yes. Not on PMB or Senate bills.
      • This could be a good mechanism for making sure we deal with all legislation sooner rather than later, or worse - never.
      • Yes - legislative death through attrition is not the answer - this practice denigrates the role, reputation and credibility of the Senate institution.  

Question 2-B11iii
Would you continue the current discussion of bills, with the often used adjournment of discussion? Would you rather see a lumping of the discussion with defined breaks in a defined schedule to allow Senators to further research and develop and finalize his/her opinion with full knowledge of the schedule?  

Response and analysis
      Change: 74%      Stay the same: 7%      No comment: 19%
Senators were receptive to this question and offered enthusiastic answers. Senators stated the advantages of a debate schedule would help increase participation and quality of debates. It will also help create cohesion and momentum for a debate subject, instead of the entire Chamber waiting on each Senator whose turn it is to speak.  

Question 2-B11iv
Does time allocation need to be modified?  

Response and analysis
      Yes: 41%     Maybe: 29%      No comment: 30%
The answers are uncertain here. Most Senators are fine with it for government legislation, and complained about its use on PMBs.  

Question 2-B12
The length of speeches:  

Response and analysis
      Change: 44%     Stay the same: 41%      No comment: 15%
Senators did not line up passionately for this question. Please note that within the category of change, there some Senators who want more time for speeches.  

Cooperative authoring of documents might well eliminate much redundant debating. See again Chapter 15, "Optimizing effectiveness: Digital collaboration".  n56

Question 2-B13
The resources available to committees:  

Response and analysis
      Change: 55%     Stay the same: 30%      No comment: 15%
While almost all Senators underlined that resources available were sufficient, several answered they wished to rearrange the budget from political leader's offices and divert it to the committees. In short, complaints were not about the Senate resources available, but how the resources are allocated.  

Question 2-B14
The resources available to Senators:  

Response and analysis
      Change: 44%     Stay the same: 37%      No comment: 19%
Most Senators did not complain about the size of their budgets...,but wanted more flexibility in hiring, contracting and spending their own budgets.  

Question 2-B15
The role of partisanship: Is there a need to identify Senators as belonging to a political party?  

Response and analysis
      Yes: 37%      No: 30%      Not necessarily: 33%
Some Senators believed political parties were useful platforms for internal communications. Others believed this should be entirely voluntary. As you can see the splits are about one third each. "Not necessarily"….kind of means, "political parties if necessary but not necessarily political parties."

Selected questionnaire answers
      Yes: 27%      No: 38%      Not necessarily: 35% (These different numbers from Work shops)
      • That should be up to the parties. I like the U.K. system better. The 3 categories.
      • I have no difficulty with Senators declaring their general political philosophy identity but in a new Senate.
      • Organization there would be no need to have such identity tied to Senate business operation.
      • Internal communication in the Senate is very dependent on Caucuses.
      • Yes, if we so choose—idea generation of like-minded people.  

Questions 2B16
Attendance at National Caucus:  

Response and analysis
      Yes: 15%      No: 48%      Voluntary: 37%
Many Senators believed this is one of the largest obstacles to Senate independence.
For selected questionnaire answers, see sub 2-B17.  

Question 2-B17
Attendance at Senate party caucus:  

Response and analysis
      Yes: 57%      No: 22%      Voluntary: 14%      No comment: 7%
Once again, answers focused on the discretion of the Senator, while also admitting there was a use for them.

Selected questionnaire answers 2B16 and 2B17
      • Senators should not caucus with MPs from the House. Being in a club together lessens our tendency to vote no to the House and to think/suggest independently.
      • Should be entirely voluntary.
      • Attending National Caucus should be voluntary, not mandatory like it is now for Conservatives.
      • Should not be attending any partisan meeting, unless as a strict personal manner.
Rule changes to consider
There is no rule currently obliging any Senator to attend national caucus other than the policy of the Conservative Party.
Cultural changes to consider
Despite being a matter of discretion for Senators, there has been a long tradition of identifying as a party member and attending both National caucus and Senate caucus.  

Question 2-B18
Senate regional caucuses: Would regional caucuses or seating be a good vehicle?  

Response and analysis
      Yes: 81%      No:4      No comment: 15%
Some Senators believed this was the most important reform Senators could make, with some answers stating this should be mandatory. Other answers underlined that regional caucuses would need to develop an objective, as it couldn't be a consensus making caucus designed to coordinate voting intentions, as political caucuses are. Others worried about resources if we formed these.

Selected questionnaire answers 2B18
      • It would be interesting.
      • Senate regional caucuses should be tried, providing they are non-partisan.
      • Need to have a concrete plan, objectives, costing etc. ... to maximize content and benefits to the public.
      • Should be entirely voluntary.
Rule changes to consider
Meeting as a caucus is not governed by any Senate rule.
Cultural changes to consider
Senators have been caucusing according to political party affiliation for many years.  

The essay provisionally proposes that 38 senators provide strong service as regional representatives. Their task involves balancing regional and national interests. They should have extensive contact with the regions (and specific cultural segments of our population). Refer to the chapters on a functional distinction among senators, citizens' representatives, and complex-problem solvers, beginning here.  n68

Question 2-B19
Televising/web casting Chamber proceedings: Should we televise/web-cast Chamber proceedings? Are there specific ideas for improving non-partisan Senate relationships and communications? Would regional caucuses or seating be a good vehicle?  

Response and analysis
      Yes: 55%      No: 30%      Contingent on other changes: 15%
There was a clear message by some Senators that they only accept TV only if other changes came to the Senate. Many Senators believed this should be a priority. Other answers confirmed they believe this should be a priority for the Senate and would go a long way towards communicating what the Senate does. Some answers stated cameras would add to the Senate's trouble because it would compel partisan grandstanding.

Selected questionnaire answers
      • Yes, if changes, drastic changes, are made in proceedings.
      • Yes. This is a must to improve our image.
      • Accessibility and transparency are essential, even if expensive.
      • Clean-up the rules surrounding the Order Paper and Q.P. before going down that road.
      • I do not see any advantage to this. I am not playing to an audience.
      • Might help in communicating our work—and help Canadians to understand our role.
Rule changes to consider
There are no rules currently forbidding cameras in the chamber.
Cultural changes to consider
The policy on cameras can be changed at will.  

Question 2-B20
Electronic voting in the Chamber: should we conduct an experiment?  

Response and analysis
      Yes: 37%      No: 41%      Not now: 22%
There was not much enthusiasm for this. Answers often thought it was a waste of time and not a concern of ours.  

Question 2-B21
Whipped votes: what is their role in the Senate?  

Response and analysis
      No role: 59%      Somewhat of a role: 33%      No comment: 8%
Senators varied between whipped votes having no role in the Senate to underlining their specific place and role (confidence votes, budget votes, or so-called 3-line whip items).

Selected questionnaire answers
      • Within reason they can be administered.
      • Only necessary on 3-line whip items—e.g. budget or questions of confidence.
      • They are needed on matters of vital Government legislation.
      • As a consequence of the Constitutional roles and responsibilities that all Senators have sworn to uphold and honour, there should be none.
Rule changes to consider
There are currently no rules in place governing the powers and role of a party whip or how a party maintains voting discipline amongst party members.
Cultural changes to consider
Senators are free to recalibrate how whipped votes are exercised in the Senate.  

The government should reason with clarity, not castigate. And no hidden agendas!  n74

Question 2-B22
Committee chairs: How should they be selected?  

Response and analysis
      Elected: 85%      Current practice: 15%
Along with question 3A. below, this question touched on democratic reforms the Senate may choose to undertake. The election of caucus officers and the election of the Speaker were part of this current of thought. Several mentioned the need for some kind of competitive process involving the entire Senate.

Selected questionnaire answers
      • By a non-partisan election by all members.
      • I think the leader has a role to play in selection, to be confirmed by the committee; this is as it is now.
      • Elected by the entire Senate with the convention that the minority gets some chairs.
      • By committees following a non-partisan vote (see Chapter 12 Committees of the attached 'Proposal to Transform the Senate of Canada')
      • By election of the Committee members.  

Question 2-B23
Committee participation: How should committee members be chosen and by whom?  

Response and analysis
      Change: 67%      Stay the same: 29%      No comment: 4%
Senators generally believed that committee membership be chosen differently than the current method. Some saw value in leadership naming members, if only to make the process efficient. Even amongst these answers, there was an appetite for more say in committee constitution by Senators. One Senator said there should be a "competitive process."

Selected questionnaire answers
      • Recommended by an independent non-partisan committee but voted upon in the Senate, committee by committee.
      • I think the system as it is now is acceptable and practical.
      • I think that committee selection should be done by a meeting between the Chair of the committee, Vice-Chair, and Senate leadership working to achieve a balance of geography, interests, and expertise. Alternatively, if Senate leadership is elected by the Senate caucus, leadership could be delegated the authority to appoint committee members if that is preferred by their caucus.
Rule changes to consider
      The Parliament Act empowers political parties to name the Chair of Internal Economy. Otherwise, the Rules of the Senate differ from actual practice:
      The powers of the Committee of Selection are:
      12-2. (4) The Committee of Selection is empowered to inquire into and report on any other matter referred to it by the Senate, and also has the power to:
      (a) to publish from day to day such papers and evidence as may be ordered by it; and (b) to propose to the Senate from time to time changes in the membership of a committee.
Cultural changes to consider
      The method to populate committees has followed a convention. The powers of the Selection Committee have become dormant.  

Re questions 2-B22 and 2-B23, the needed blend of talent applies to committees for solving complex problems. Initially, the Senate needs to rely on the judgment of its "research director." (See my comment under question 3-B.).  n78

In this ideal organization of the Senate and Committees?  

Question 3-A
Should the Senate be an example of democracy within its own operations?  

Response and analysis
      Yes: 85%      No: 4%      No comment: 11%
Although this answer did not gather many specific insights, Senators all felt there was a need for more democratic decision making in the Senate.  

Question 3-B
If the answer to the question above is "yes," should the Senate elect/propose its Speaker? Should the election be by secret ballot?  

Response and analysis
      Yes: 100%
This question had unanimous support, although one left the question blank. It was only the second answer to do so. Senators believe there is a role for the Senate to play in the selection of the Speaker.
For selected questionnaire answers, sub 3D.  

I imagine that part of the Speaker's role will be turned over to a person with experience in managing a research team, see here. This person should be appointed on merit, a merit to be judged by people thoroughly capable of making such a judgment.  n85A

Question 3-C
Should the Speaker have a term limit? If yes, what is a reasonable limit?  

Response and analysis
      Yes: 85%      Not sure: 11%      No comment: 4%.
Answers varied greatly. Some Senators didn't think the term should have an explicit limit, while some Senators who suggested there should be no limit went on to suggest it should be for each Parliament, a de facto limit.  

Question 3-D
Should we enable the Speaker to be the final word on Senate procedures and rules or should we maintain the Chamber's right to overturn the Speaker's rulings? If yes, under what conditions?  

Response and analysis
      Speaker: 8%      Chamber: 70%      No comment: 11%      If the Speaker is elected: 11%
While a majority believes the powers should remain with the Senate, a number of Senators believe the powers of the Speaker could be increased if the Senate is able to choose their own Speaker.

Selected questionnaire answers
     • The Senate should elect/propose its Speaker by secret ballot. The Speaker's duties include moderating Senate debate and representing the Senate. The Senate should have some suggestion as to who fills that role as we are all affected by how the Speaker runs the chamber and how the Speaker makes the Chamber look. Electing a Speaker by way of a secret ballot ensures that the Speaker is accountable to the Chamber at large.
     • If the Speaker is elected or proposed by the Senate, he/she should be the final word on procedures and rules. If the Speaker is not selected by Senators, the Senate should have the right to overturn his/her decisions.
     • I believe the Speaker should be the final word. Period.
Rule changes to consider
The current nomination of the Speaker is the responsibility of the GG according to the Constitution. Constitutional change is beyond the scope of the meeting.
Cultural changes to consider:
The GG exercises this power through the Letters Patent, which gives legal authority to the GG to make appointments based on advice from the PM, or any interested party. Because the Senate has an interest in this issue, the Senate is free to advise the GG on its preference, and the GG is free to listen or ignore, based on their own wisdom.  

Question 3-E
Should Caucus officers be elected by Senators? If yes, should all of them be elected or should some be appointed? If yes, which ones elected or appointed?  

Response and analysis
     Yes: 90%     Mayb/hybrid: 19%     No comment: 11%
While Senators offered all kinds of configurations as to which officers would be selected and how, most agreed more input from Senators was needed.

Selected questionnaire answers      • Caucus chairs should be elected. Their role and attributions should be broadened. They should sit on the Committee on Internal Economy.
     • Yes. All elected by the caucus, except for the political "leaders/lobbyists" whose job is to convince us of the merits of their party's position on these bills.      • All caucus members should be elected by the Senators. No appointments ....      • Caucus officers should be elected by Senators. This should include the Leader of the Government in the Senate as he or she is the most prominent figure in the Senate.
Rule changes to consider
There are no rules currently governing how caucus officers are chosen.
Cultural changes to consider:
A free vote amongst caucus members is the decision of the caucus. A caucus can also decide whether or not to formally define the responsibilities and obligations of caucus officers.  

Question 3-F
Who should name the leaders of each Senate side?  

Response and analysis
Senators stated clearly that leadership should be chosen by senators, either through their caucuses, or else in the Chamber if there are no parties. Even those who answered the government should name the leaders mentioned the leaders shouldn't exercise power over their colleagues but instead should promote the government's agenda in the Senate.  

Question 3G
While with respect to the progress of Government legislation, it should be clear who the Government Leader in the Senate is and what his/her role is, but should the Government Leader in the Senate have a role on issues outside of Government legislation?  

Response and analysis
Senators seemed to have a difficult time with this question—perhaps the question had too many moving parts. Answers were varied. What this amounts to could be the need for a kind of job description for Government Leader, although no one said that specifically.  

Question 4
Should the Senate establish a committee to propose, in a manner consistent with the Supreme Court decision, how Senators could be chosen?  

Response and analysis
While some Senators thought this was a good idea, others believed it was none of our business. Those who answered "yes" often only gave this one word answer. Those who answered "no" often shared their thoughts about why this was a bad idea.  

Well, yes. But, please, first comprehend my essay. Moreover, how will this matter be affected by the terms of reference for the newly appointed Advisory Board on Senate Appointments?  n98

Question 5
Should we more specifically define Senators' individual roles and contributions to Canada beyond our more formal role and objectives? Should the Senate be funding such activities? Explain please.  

Response and analysis
This question is really two questions: should the broader role of Canadian Senator be defined and should the Senate fund the activities. The positive response seems to have come from the second part of this question. Some answers also approached the Senate's poor communications.  

Question 6-A
What is your brief definition of partisanship?  

Detailed answers
      • The absolute loyalty of Senators to their party rather than to Canadians.
      • A prejudice affecting decision making, favoring a political party.
      • Partisanship: blind obedience to party rule.  

Question 6-B
What is its role and purpose in the Senate?  

Detailed answers
      • The only role and purpose it should have is a very, very limited one. It should be acknowledged as nothing more than a factor among many others in determining how a Senator will vote.
      • Its valuable mostly, as it provides predictable and stable results through a process driven by like minded individuals. It's destructive when it requires blind obediance to issues that need debate.
      • Its present role and purpose in the Senate is to excercise control over the intentions, will, conclusions and actions of individual Senators.
      • No senator should blindly obey anyone else.  

Question 6-C
Should we try to define, perhaps as part of a code, what level of partisanship is and is not appropriate? If so, how would you define it?  

Response and analysis
      Yes: 19%      No: 59%      Don't know: 22%
Most Senators were skeptical as to whether it would be possible to codify partisanship. Others thought it was unnecessary.  

7. Concerning standing and ad-hoc committees  109

Questions 7
There was no specific question dealing with the aspects of this breakout group. But, from the answers provided we see there is an appetite for the role of committees in the Senate to expand. Senators wished for increased communications, as well as a use of committee subpoena powers in order to make timely public inquiries.
Here are the specific questions this group should seek to answer:
      • Are there too many committees or not enough?
      • Should committees be smaller?
      • Should committees have greater communications resources?
      • Should more ad hoc committees on public issues be struck?  

Selected questionnaire answers
      • Yes, committees are fundamental vehicles to fill the sober second thought mandate. For me, these are the committee priorities in order: 1) Review Government legislation (sober second thought). 2) Review PMBs. (sober second thought). 3) Report and investigate long-term public policy issues and options. (sober first thought). I also think that ad hoc Senate committees should be used more often to investigate current issues. The Senate is a resource that is independent of the House of Commons but sympathetic to it. It should be used more often to engage in current public issues, examine choices, and recommend solutions. Right on! And aren't the problems commented on in Part II of my essay all public policy issues?!!
      • I agree. I think we should not shrink from studies on timely issues. For example, the issue of missing and murdered aboriginal women is one where the Senate could undertake a set of hearings and issue a report that would be every bit as relevant as a multi-million dollar inquiry with legions of lawyers and judges.
      • Yes, and that is why additional resources need to go to committees so that this responsibility can be both broadened and made more effective.
      • Yes, but our system is not inappropriate. The American model informs. The majority and minority of such committees independently calls witnesses and has independent funding. The staff to committees as they currently function is a poor use of funds.
      • Yes. I believe that committee work is the most important function of the Senate. If one reviews the work of our committees, it becomes obvious that in so many ways the Senate is the only body that reviews, studies and reports on important issues in Canada. Mental health, aboriginal issues, constitutionality of bills, sloppy drafting of regulation that causes unintentional consequences are all key elements of committee work. While I believe that there has always been partisan ship in the Senate proper, there is occasionally a bright light shining from the committee where differences are put aside and everyone works for a just and equitable solution.
      • My primary goal would be to organize the Senate around two things: reviewing legislation and doing large committee studies. This means that at the centre of the entire organization would be committees and the way they function. Using committee's as the core around which all other operating principles revolve ensures that the Senate can focus on doing the meticulous but important work that is often overlooked in the House. Love it!
      • I believe that all of the committees are too large. This often leads to problems of attendance and can be expensive due to travel etc. I have never understood why one committee has more members than another. I would suggest that each committee is comprised of seven members. At the start of each session, Senators would indicate their preference for a committee or committees. A secret ballot would take place the top 7 would form the committee. The committee would then elect a chair and vice-chair. Senators of course can attend any committee they chose without voting privileges. Too often, in all committees, decisions are made by the steering committee and are not communicated in a clear and concise manner to the committee.  

The Senate is the appointed Upper House in Canada's bicameral Parliament. The Senate plays an important complementary role to the elected House of Commons by:
      • i. providing independent "sober second thought" to legislation, with particular respect to Canada's national interests, aboriginal peoples, regions, minorities and under-represented segments of Canada's population;
      • ii. undertaking policy studies, reports and inquiries on public issues relevant to Canadians, and
      • iii. understanding, sharing and representing the views and concerns of different groups, based on a Senator's unique perspective.  

The Senate should take advantage of its ability to promptly examine and highlight high profile/current issues with existing committees or special committees where necessary.  116

The Senate should thoroughly develop, then take advantage of its ability .... I don't think any senator believes that the Senate as presently constituted is capable of even beginning to tackle such complex, urgent, highly integrated issues as displayed in Part II of the essay.  n116

Committees are the "crown jewels" of the Senate and therefore, in an effort to continuously strengthen this asset, the Senate should more actively review the mandate, size and composition of Standing Committees (i.e. Not always maximum).  117

Committee reports should receive a significant communications budget to promote the work, including social media and outreach by all committee members.  118

The Senate should: Choose by election and secret ballot the Senator who shall be proposed for consideration by the Governor General for appointment as Speaker of the Senate for a term of up to three years. Rulings by the Speaker on interpretation of the Rules shall be subject to challenge by the Assembly.  120

Senators should seek a more efficient use of their time by realigning Question Period to focus on key issues of committee work, committee reports and other key issues relating to the work affecting committees. In this way, the name of Question Period should change to Issues Period. Further, from time to time, Ministers, and Officers of Parliament should be summoned to the floor of the Senate to respond to questions of Senators on issues under their responsibility.  122

Statements are important and should continue to broadcast good and current news. Senators should be respectful and informed on the rules and should avoid opinion or debateable issues within the time outlined in the Rules.  124

Should be limited to a short thank you by the Leaders. All other speeches should be done at the Speaker's reception.  126

Senate caucuses should elect all officer positions by secret ballot at intervals determined by each caucus.  128

The Senate should televise and webcast its proceedings.  130

From time to time, informal regional caucuses should meet.  132

Senators should receive the specific Order Paper instead of the general Order Paper.  134

Senators should only be able to adjourn a Private Members' Bill, Senate Bill, or motion for 15 days only once. Rule 6-10(2) should be amended accordingly.  135

The listing of items on the Order Paper should be expressed more clearly and should be easy to follow.  136

All reference to "stand" should be avoided, but the ability for Senators to speak to every item should be maintained according to following procedure:  137

Each day, a Senator who wishes to speak to a matter should give "notice" to their respective Deputy Leaders or the Speaker. As the Chamber's work begins, each "noticed item" should be discussed first in succession, with the Senator giving notice speaking, followed by any Senator who feels prompted to respond. Onceall "noticed items" are called, the Clerk should call all skipped "non-noticed" items, giving Senators the chance to speak to these items. If no Senator speaks to a "non-noticed item", no other items would be called and the session would be adjourned.  138

For each Session of Parliament, the Senate shall choose committee members according to the following procedures:  140

The essay views things differently. Please, go back to ID n78.  n140

A selection committee shall be elected by the Senate as a whole, on a secret ballot vote according to guide lines agreed to by the leadership of the recognized political parties in the Senate.  141

Internal economy shall be elected by the Senate as a whole, on a secret ballot vote according to guide lines agreed to by the leadership of the recognized politicalparties in the Senate.  142

Membership of the Selection Committee shall have representation from the four Senate Divisions of Canada.  143

The selection committee shall exercise its powers and populate Senate committees and subcommittees according to guidelines agreed to by the leadership of the recognized political parties in the Senate.  144

The selection committee shall be responsible for all permanent committee membership changes.  145

Once formed, the Committees shall elect their own chairs, vice-chairs and third members of steering committee by secret ballot according to guidelines agreed to by the leadership of the recognized political parties in the Senate.  146

This process shall be reviewed after one year of operation.  147

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