Randall White holds a doctorate in political science and is an independent researcher and consultant on economic development issues for Ontario. Formerly he was a senior economist for the Ontario Ministry of Treasury and Economics.
Voice of Region
Canada has always been a nation of strong regions and divergent interests â€“ perhaps never more so than now as the country grapples with the difficult and controversial Meech Lake Accord. Voice of Region traces the long history of Canadian regionalism down to the present. In 1867, the institution formally given the role of regional advocate was an appointed Senate. The book examines the unhappy record of the current Senate of Canada since the 1860â€™s, arguing that a particular historic logic is urging a broad process of Senate reform on the Confederation of the 21st century.
Voice of Region ultimately comes to focus on the specific late 20th century demand for an "elected, effective, and equal" Senate in Canada. It does not minimize the difficulties this demand presents for the institutional heritage of Canadian parliamentary democracy, and it stresses how Senate reform is entangled with quite different demand for a "distinct society" in Quebec. It maintains, however, that only an elected Senate â€“ something proposed even in the 1860s â€“ can foster essential regional consensus for robust and coherent Canadian development in the century that lies ahead.