Sunday, September 10, 2006

9/11 - With Respect

September 11, 2006 will be five years from a tragic moment in world history. The world will reflect. Innocent citizens from around the world were killed and countries from around the globe suffered. Many families were injured and still hurt.

Much has happened in the past five years that has added to the world's pain. There is a sense that our values have been tested and some of us may have lost their way.

So deep was the wound that the United States struck back fiercely - sometimes blindly lashing out like a hurt child looking for anyone and anything to blame. That child of humanity who is the United States is still hurting and struggling to find its way back to peace and safety.

The world needs to remember that the US is deeply hurting. The path to peace is not to ignore pain or its causes. Respect and acknowledgement is key. On this anniversary the world needs to remember and respect those that suffered lose.

To all who have suffered from the tragic evil event - peace, hope, and new beginnings to you.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Senate Reform

Steve Harper wants to elect Senators every eight years; but everyone should take a deep breath - tinkering with Canada’s democracy is a serious matter.

A partisan appointed Senate with power rightly offends most of us. Nevertheless, regularly electing a Senate would intensify short-term partisan perspectives – just look at the US Senate. Likewise, abolishing the Senate – as Jack Layton demands - would completely reinforce politics de jour and eliminate longer-term perspectives from Ottawa.

We need original thought on Senate Reform that will not simply intensify narrow partisan politics, for example:

First, Senators should be over 45. A chamber of “second thought” needs people with life experience who, hopefully, can see through momentary, occasionally brash, perspectives.

Second, 1/3 of the Senate should be replaced every 4 years. This way, the Senate would neither change radically nor frequently and yet still be accountable and responsive, over time, to changes in Canada. The Senate would be a place of “sober second thought” that balances the day-to-day partisanship that dominates Canadian politics.

Lastly, 1/2 of the new senators should be elected directly from the provinces, which best represents regional interests. The rest should be elected by parliament, which represents our national interest. This way, we would strike balance between individual representation and our common national interests.

Unfortunately, Steve Harper is playing a dangerous game with our democracy; if he gets his way he will intensify partisan, ideological, and regional politics. Better ways to improve Canada exist and all of us should demand better.