Non-Canadian readers bear with me as I explain the Canadian Senate.
It's not like the US where you need to be elected. Nor is it like Britain's House of Lords, where you must be either inbred, a Bishop of the Church of England or an MP who suddenly finds himself without a seat.
Here in Canada, you used to get picked because you were either a political bag-man or you had Polaroids of a cabinet minister who didn't want them getting around.
Nowadays, you need to meet a rigorous set of prerequisites:
1. Age 30-75
2. Own $4,000 worth of property in the province you wish to represent.
3. Have a net worth of $4,000.
4.Since the Senate is working toward gender parity and diversity, you'll get extra points for being a woman, aboriginal or member of a minority.
5. You need to demonstrate either:
a) experience with the legislative process (ie: politician)
b) lengthy and recognized public service (ie: bureaucrat)
c) outstanding achievement in your profession (ie: rich)
So, given that we've just lived through lengthy RCMP investigations of Senators scamming from the Public purse for which nobody's been convicted or had to do much more than pay back the cash they almost got away with -- we'll have the same kind of scumbags we've always had.
Being a Senator in Canada basically means everybody knows that underneath that slick exterior, you're not somebody anybody actually respects.
The world has always skewed toward being governed by aristocrats. Now and then, there's a French Revolution or Civil war that culls the herd. But eventually they come back and go right on doing what they do best -- living off the rest of us.
That's never been clearer in Canada then it is now, a condition summed up beautifully this weekend by Michael Campbell the nationally syndicated host of radio's "Money Talks".
No matter where your political sentiments lie, I don't think you'll find fault with anything he has to say.
Enjoy Your Sunday.
And for those of you who were expecting something else...