(SNN) With everybody cruelly piling abuse on the senate like they are the fat kid in Junior High, it is time someone came to the defense of a body that is as maligned as Oprah Winfrey’s. The fact is the chamber of semi-sober second thought is well worth the $90 million we Canadians cough up for it. Consider these facts:
With a base salary of $132,000.00 plus tips and gratuities, per senator, these people pump a huge chunk of change into the national economy. Without the support of Ottawa’s legion of spend-happy senators, many a high-end restaurant would suffer, maybe even go bankrupt. Individuals working for private firms certainly can’t afford to go to these upper-crust establishments and those caviar canapés just don’t eat themselves, you know. Liquor manufacturers, too, would feel the loss of the senate and their free-spending ways. Those lost sales of cheap wine for constituents would have what insiders call a “Ripple effect”.
Senators also help the housing industry by having the government help pay for lake cottages and swanky apartments that these elected officials call home, at least to Revenue Canada. Without these senators stimulating the housing market, real estate analysts will tell you, the housing prices in Canada would drop precipitously. It is obvious the sacrifice these senators make, having to maintain multiple residences, is far more for the benefit of the national economy than it is for themselves.
The airline industry, as well, owes a great deal to senators and their staff. Given that they are forever jetting about the nation and going on fact-finding missions to foreign countries, these brave men and women are almost single-handedly keeping the airplanes aloft. Should Prime Minister Harper get his way and abolish the senate, it won’t be long before taxpayers will be required to bail-out Air Canada again, probably for more than the $90 million the senate costs us.
The Canadian Senate, according to its detractors, is only good for giving cushy jobs to party hacks. True, it is a better gig than even being Prime Minister, since you don’t have to show up very often to collect your pay and hardly anybody ever asks you to actually do anything. It is like winning the lottery. Why would you take that dream away from our children and our children’s children? It is something to aspire to that doesn’t appear to require brains, good looks or people skills, unlike practically every other job out there. Are we willing to crush these youths’ hopes?
It must be pointed out that if there wasn’t a senate, it’s not like pork-barrel politics would end. We would probably have to get a whole slough of new ambassadorial positions in places like Lichtenstein and Togo to reward party flacks and bagmen. These would cost a great deal more than the paltry pittance the senate currently takes from the budget. Plus, the senators are all together where we can keep an eye on them.
All in all, what the taxpayer shells out annually for the Canadian Senate is money well spent.
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