The recent Senate scandal involving Mike Duffy’s expenses have put Stephen Harper’s government on the defensive. Harper once called the Senate, “a relic of the 19th century,” and that he would not appoint senators. Since taking power, his government has appointed 59 senators. Mike Duffy is one of these individuals; he “represents” PEI despite not living there. The New Democratic Party is on the offense, setting up the website RollUpTheRedCarpet.ca, where they argue for the abolition of the Senate. Despite this apparent level-headed idea, there are problems with the NDP petition. They write that the, “$92.5 million a year it costs to run this archaic institution would be better spent elsewhere.” I disagree. This $92.5 million shouldn’t be taken from Canadians to begin with. Abolish the Senate? Why stop there? Let’s abolish this whole coercive system of bureaucratic state control and crony-capitalism.
The NDP write, “unelected, unaccountable senators represent the party that appoints them – not the Canadian people.” But doesn’t the House of Commons serve the same purpose? Candidates are elected into parliament to “represent” their constituency. More often than not, they are backbenchers for the ruling party. At least for the Senate, nobody wastes their time voting. Political parties act as springboards to state power. The state is monopoly on force within a given territory where it claims ultimate legal jurisdiction. While in a democracy one is free to join the state, it is usually filled with individuals looking to increase their power, wealth and influence – the Hayekian “worst rise to the top” theory. So what relation do these strange institutions have to do with values and interests of the Canadian people?
“they are neither our servants, agents, attorneys, nor representatives . . . [for] we do not make ourselves responsible for their acts. If a man is my servant, agent, or attorney, I necessarily make myself responsible for all his acts done within the limits of the power I have intrusted to him. If I have intrusted him, as my agent, with either absolute power, or any power at all, over the persons or properties of other men than myself, I thereby necessarily make myself responsible to those other persons for any injuries he may do them, so long as he acts within the limits of the power I have granted him. But no individual who may be injured in his person or property, by acts of Congress, can come to the individual electors, and hold them responsible for these acts of their so-called agents or representatives. This fact proves that these pretended agents of the people, of everybody, are really the agents of nobody.” [emphasis mine]
How could state bureaucrats truly “represent” the people? Markets, unlike bureaus, operate on funds voluntarily provided by individuals. This allocation of resources rests on what individuals value and those unwilling to adapt to these changes face certain poverty. The state is a monopoly that allocates resources arbitrarily. The price signals that arise from voluntary trade are absent when taxation is used. State bureaucrats – elected or not – have no way of knowing whether their actions are profitable and thus valuable and sustainable. It is this economic calculation problem that brought down the communist regimes of the 20th century. It is this problem that keeps the state from ever downsizing itself. Since the PM chief of staff wrote Mike Duffy a $90,000 cheque, the Senate and other bureaus have increased their wealth and power in order to “get to the bottom of things.” Even the opposition, like the NDP, are calling on the RCMP bureaucracy to investigate these corruption charges.
By advocating the abolition of the Senate – but stopping short of applying this reasoning to other government bureaus – the supporters of this initiative are failing to see the forest for the trees. Democratic or not – the social implications of state rule are too destructive to be tolerated. It’s time to roll up the red carpet and abolish the Senate. Then go across the street and dismantle the Bank of Canada before heading over to the House of Commons to end that too. And let’s not forget the Canada Revenue Agency. Located beside the US Embassy on Mackenzie Ave in Ottawa, that should probably be the first bureaucracy to go.