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Unheard Voices Essay

3940 words - 16 pages

Saskatchewan farmers have been continually ignored in Canada's institutionallandscape. Never has the situation been more evident as it is with the possibility ofQuebec separation. The Canadian governments ignorance of farmers' needs has caused acynical view of the political process in the eyes of farmers. One of the major sources ofthe cynicism is that Canadian federal institutions are developed so that most political of theclout is developed from the east. The eastern domination of the House of Commons, andindirectly the Senate, means that Saskatchewan wheat farmers do not have a strong voicein Canadian political decisions. But what does the Saskatchewan lack of representation inCanada's ...view middle of the document...

The result is the development of policies contrary to what would be accepted by farmers.Saskatchewan wheat farmers, in accordance with most constituencies in the west,have desired a institutional change to the Upper House in Canada. In 1867, when theinstitutions were developed, the goal was to develop two different political 'bodies'. One,the House of Commons, would represent the Canadian people by means of electedrepresentatives in a representation by population scenario. The second, the Senate, wouldbe a source of 'sober second thought.' In its creation the senate was intended to protectthe ideals of individual regions. However, to the chagrin of Saskatchewan wheat farmers,the intended regional focus of the senate never developed and, hence, the senate has beenan institution that has been the focus of a lot of antipathy from the West. The drive formodifications to the Senate has been pressed by Saskatchewan wheat farmers in anattempt to uphold their livelihood in a nation in which they're ignored.The development of intrastate federalism in the senate is typically the most desiredinstitutional change. Intrastate federalism aids in bringing regional representation to thenational political arena. The desire for regional representation in the Senate is held in highdemand by Saskatchewan wheat farmers. The most prominent suggestion is for a Triple Esenate (equal, effective, and elected) instead of the current form of the Upper House.Support for a Triple E senate is virtually guaranteed by Saskatchewan wheat farmer,because their views would have better representation in a central political institution whichhistorically has ignored their needs. The reasoning behind the lack of regionalism in theCanadian senate is based on two important factors. 'First, Canadian senators were notselected by provincial legislatures or governments, but rather were appointed by thefederal government... Secondly, Canadians opted for equal representation by region ratherthan equal representation by province.' Thus, the senate's actions are extremely similarto the actions of the House of Commons.To answer the question of what Saskatchewan wheat farmers need to do to upholdtheir livelihood concentrates on the necessity for a senate reform based on intrastatefederalism. The hope is that by doing so Saskatchewan farmers would have a strong voicein the national political arena. However, modifying the senate is an extremely arduoustask. Senate reform would most likely have to follow the current amending formula of theseven-fifty rule. The seven-fifty rule declares that any amendments made to theconstitution have the support of two-thirds of the provincial legislatures (seven, in thecurrent Confederation) containing fifty percent of the population agreeing to themodification. The modifications would be difficult to achieve because the politicians inthe east, who currently hold a lot of the clout in the current landscape, would be opposedto any changes that would see them lose...

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