Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is looking for truly independent senators to fill 22 vacancies in the Canadian Senate. Trudeau believes in independent candidates so much that after Trudeau became the Liberal Party leader, he stripped the Liberal name from the senators already in office.
Coming up with candidates that are friendly to Trudeau's policies but yet aren't necessarily identifiable as Liberals will be a tremendous challenge for the prime minister.
Fortunately for Prime Minister Trudeau, I have an ideal candidate that will truly be independent who would be honored to serve as a Canadian senator.
C'est moi. People appointed to the Canada Senate don't have to be politicians or lawyers. So why not nominate me to be a Canadian senator?
Let's look at my advantages:
- knowledgeable about Canada
- truly independent: never voted for or against the Liberals
- student of Canadian politics
- inherently curious
- journalist, but not like Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin
There are a few disadvantages:
- Being American
- Not living in Canada
- No experience in law
- Not speaking French well
Picking me to be a Canadian senator would be a rather unconventional choice, but I offer important variables. Like Ruth Ellen Brosseau in the House of Commons, the life of a Canadian senator would be a financial windfall pour moi but I would work hard to appreciate that good fortune. Democracy benefits at times when people who don't have a lot of money are thrust into positions over how to spend taxpayers' money.
I don't have a bias against Quebec, the French language, or aboriginals. I don't even have a bias against other parts of Canada. I certainly have preferences but haven't found a spot yet in Canada that I didn't like or appreciate. Unlike a lot of Canadians, I've been to 8 provinces. And regular readers know that a job where I get to travel extensively in Canada would be a wonderful fit.
Canadians are usually impressed with my knowledge of Canada. I've covered politics on both sides of the border so intricate policy is a welcome challenge. My journalism training and experience allows me to be neutral and take in opinions and perspective, good traits for a senator to have. Trudeau's wife, Sophie Gregoire, is a journalist, so the prime minister can relate to that part of my experience. Unlike Sen. Jacques Demers, I can read and write. Okay, so that was a cheap shot, but my writing ability would serve me well as a senator.
I've written about Canada for 10 years without the promise of fame, fortune, or power. This blog is a CV that could get me considered for the honor of being a Canadian senator.
As we've learned in the Mike Duffy scandal, Canadian senators are supposed to live in the area where they represent in the Canadian Senate. And I don't live in Canada. Senators also must own at least $4,000 property and I don't own any property in Canada.
Canadian senators makes $142,400 per year and can serve until they are 75. So I would have plenty of financial incentive to buy, not that I need incentive to want to buy property and live in Canada. Ontario is a province I know well. If I lived in Ottawa, I wouldn't be involved in a housing expenses scandal. I like Windsor and would be glad to buy property there that is worth well over $4,000.
Buying property where I would represent takes care of those two issues. Plus, a job offer to be a Canadian senator would allow me to stay in the country that I would represent.
Being a Canadian senator offers great job security so as a landed immigrant, I wouldn't have to look over my shoulder for fear of being deported. As we've seen with Duffy, Wallin, and Patrick Brazeau, getting kicked out of the Senate is really hard to do.
There are other rules for being a Canadian senator. You have to be at least 30, so I'm set there. However, Canadian senators must be citizens of Canada and can be disqualified if that person becomes a subject or citizen of a foreign power. The United States Senate has looser rules since Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was a Canadian citizen and a U.S. senator.
I would love to be a Canadian citizen. I even offered to take the discarded citizenship from Sen. Cruz. Even with being a Canadian citizen, I would still have to renounce my U.S. citizenship.
As much as I love Canada, renouncing the citizenship of your birth would be rather difficult. The idea of standing in the lines of non-U.S. citizenship people when flying to the United States. I shudder just thinking about having to go through that humiliation. Then again, that experience would definitely make me feel Canadian.
Growing up in the United States, the idea of being a political figure that isn't elected was, honestly, foreign. The United States Senate was unelected by the people from the start of the country until the 17th Amendment in the early 20th century. U.S. senators were elected by state legislatures instead of voting from the people.
Canadian provinces don't have a Senate. Some provinces used to have one, but quite a few never had a Senate.
The Canadian Senate is patterned after the House of Lords. Often times, especially under the last prime minister, losing House candidates were appointed into the Senate.
Then again, U.S. senators face huge financial pressure because of the need to raise money to run for re-election. Watching U.S. politics makes the idea of a senator who is not tempted to represent billionaires and corporations is tempting.
If I were to become a Canadian senator, I wouldn't have to worry about pressure. I could study topics in depth, such as nutrition and obesity, with long-term solutions in mind. If I served to 75, that would be quite a long time. My contributions would have value to society.
As much as I've studied Canadian politics, I don't quite understand the purpose of the Canadian Senate. If I were in the Canadian Senate, I would understand the role of the body and bring a true, refreshing outside independent perspective to the chamber. I would promise to be a serious thinker to the issues involving Canadians, a country that isn't my own from birth but have grown to love on its own merits.