A federal system of government, by its very nature, requires a two-house system, one to represent the country-at large (the lower house ) and the other to represent the units/provinces ( the upper house). There have been various modifications of the lower house.... increase in pay and seats and redistribution to reflect population movement and growth. The Senate/upper house has been stuck in time...obselete and irrelevant, a waste of time and taxpayer's dollars. It has to be reformed to make it useful and not merely as a foil to the government in power. There are many models that can be looked at, elected, appointed, hereditary etc but each has limitations.....the elected American system has led to competition for power and stalemate/ gridlock. the hereditary/ appointed British system has led to inertia and political influencing- buying and the Canadian one is a dumping ground for friends, hacks and has-beens. The German system, which represents the various states and their rights has worked for the most part, and so has the French. Canada needs to look at this model...an assembly of the provinces with specific powers relating to provincial rights but no veto power on other legislation. This is only possible, if the constitution is amended, but to do so require the consent of the provinces and that has been impossible to get so far.
Medicare in Canada continues to be a "sacred trust", well supported by a great majority of Canadians. It has its problems e.g. wait time, but in a recent poll done by Health Canada, 44% rate it as good or excellent and a further 44% rate it as fair. Only one in ten rate it as poor. The health-care debate in the USA made apathetic and complacent Canadians "stand up and take notice" of how lucky we are in comparison to the Americans. Universal coverage, run by the government, affordable, portable and easily accessible is indeed a boon to us.
It is time for Canada, (says long-time top diplomat and foreign policy adviser to three former Canadian prime ministers, and Canada's longest ambassador to the United Nations, Robert Fowler) to reclaim its "widely admired and long established , international reputation, which has been wantonly squandered by politicians of all stripes who have descended to propagating a 'small-minded, mean-spirited,me-first, little-Canada, whatever-the-Ameaicans- want foreign policy". Canadian politicians are selling out our reputation for" fairness and justice in the Middle-east" and " disqualifying us from using our diplomatic skills, to forge a durable Israeli-Palestinian peace". because they have been using our foreign policy for domestic purposes, " scrambling to lock up the Jewish vote". He went on to say that anyone who acknowledge this is immediately branded as anti-Semitic, just as anyone who critize the "Afghan folly" is accused of being "disloyal to our troops". He was addressing a Liberal sponsored conference in Montreal, where he accused his Liberal hosts of pandering to the special interests, that include "not only the Jewish vote, but also the Sri Lankan and Sikh extremists", and that they will "endorse anything and everything which might return to power". It was a scathing but very justified thrashing of the Liberals, who " do not stand for much in the way of principle".
Canada must leave Afghanistan. It is too heavy a price to pay....146 dead and $11
Billion spent to support a corrupt and incompetent Karzai. Canada needs to re-think its role in the world. We must go back to peace-keeping and not peace-making and nation-building through war. Our expertise and our well-trained and well-equipped troops can be so much better used in our more traditional U.N. peace-keeping missions. We are, after all very good at this and there are many places where we can do far better and productive work...from Haiti to the Congo.