Column: A sober second thought

GGS#3, just over 10 months, is at the “busy hands” stage.

GGS#3, just over 10 months, is at the “busy hands” stage.

He’s a speedy crawler and pulls himself up on whatever is handy, so he doesn’t miss much.

He has toys galore but prefers exploring behind kitchen cupboard doors. There’s good stuff there: pots, pans, bottles, boxes, etc.

For his safety and her sanity his mom put those childproof gizmos on the door handles. He had them off in seconds. What did stop him was good old fashioned elastic bands around the handles.

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One of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s parting shots before calling the election was to appoint Justice Russell Brown of Alberta to the Supreme Court of Canada. He joins the six other Harper appointees on the nine-member court. Chief Justice Beverly McLaughlin is a Mulroney appointee, and one Justice is a Liberal appointee.

It is heartening to those Canadians who fear our rights and freedoms are being eroded to know that the Justices have shown no inclination to make political decisions and, in fact, have shot down seven of nine issues close to Mr. Harper’s heart, much to his displeasure.

The Senate is a different matter. Mr. Harper has appointed 59 senators, and the Conservatives have a comfortable majority of votes. They seem to rubber stamp whatever comes along with little time spent on that “sober second thought” thing the Senate is supposed to provide. The Senate, which has been around since Confederation, and the SCC (1875) are supposed to ensure that elected governments behave themselves and put the interests of Canadians and Canada ahead of politics. The Senate is in such shambles that both Mr. Harper and NDP leader Tom Mulcair want to dump it. I don’t agree.

It’s some Senators causing the problems. If, instead of the governing party filling senate vacancies with their buddies, the opposition parties got to choose the new Senators, the Upper House might function the way it was intended to.

Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.