Precarious Stability

In California and Nevada there are hundreds of large stones which appear to be balanced precariously on one end, despite this region being a hot-spot for earthquakes. They have stood for thousands of years, either more stable than they appear or spared any sufficiently powerful earthquakes over the eons. Theoretically, an earthquake could fell any given stone tomorrow. But it’s not very likely.

The Canadian Senate is a bit like these precarious rocks. For the most part it has been free from outright, unabashed abuse, despite the apparent potential. Or perhaps it is less prone to abuse than it appears. In either case, nothing too horrible has happened since 1867 and in all likelihood nothing horrible will happen in the immediate future.

However, if we make piecemeal changes to the Senate, who can say what will happen?

To use a different analogy, the Leaning Tower of Pisa’s worsening tilt was only recently arrested, after a handful of attempts which actually worsened the situation. Only when a full effort was made a decade ago were engineers successful.

The Senate is working just fine as it is. When the federal and provincial governments and the people are prepared to invest their energy in making the Senate better, then we can improve it.

[photo credit]

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