Before looking it up, this is what I think it is.
A group of government appointed people, from a broad swathe of society, to debate legislature and provide sober second thought.
I looked it up, and that's pretty much what it is supposed to be.
The big criticism is that sometimes it gets filled with rubber-stamp government lackeys. It is a reward to people loyal to the government of the day. An easy ride, if you will.
I like to think the Senate should be made up of people of influence from inside and outside the public service.
Some former judges, ex-police commissioners, military men, doctors, politicians from various levels. Ex-mayors, counsellors, well-regarded independent politicians.
Some heroes, ex-star athletes.
Well regarded businessmen, if we can deem their hearts in the right place.
There should be rules for one to become a senator. Be debt free. Be of good standing. No criminal record. Pass a drug test and be prepared for random drug testing.
There should be a list of criteria, as passed by parliament, that the Senate should strive to attain in order to be diverse, just, and responsible.
In other words...
Not Mike Duffy, or Patrick Brazeau.
Looking at these two, one has to wonder if Stephen Harper had some master plan to fill the senate with nincompoops in order to have fodder for it's abolishment.
It's abolishment would provide one less layer of government oversight. For those up in arms over bill C51 - less oversight is the greater evil if you ask me. Greater than letting our security services detain suspected terrorists.
Imperfect as the Senate may be. Incompetent as our current politicians have made it, it is a reflection of these politicians and their hiring decisions. Don't abolish the Senate. Reform the selection process.
I would like to see a healthy senate. Not some coke-head, strip-joint manager who beats up his wife. Nor some greedy, debt-laden journalist who gave soft soundbites to his conservative friends over the course of his journalistic career.
I want to see an ex-pro hockey player. I want to see the former head of an international charity. I want to see an ex-city police commissioner. A former mayor still held in high regard. A university professor, a former surgeon, an agriculturist, an environmentalist.
I'm sure we have some of those. Lets see what pieces are missing and put those people in the senate.
Not Harper's buddies.
The second last word.
Did Don Meredith commit a crime?
The last word.
If you were to appoint someone to help oversee the biggest decisions being made in the country, who would you choose?