This may surprise a lot of my foreign friends (and probably a bunch of my Canadian friends as well), but Canada has a Senate. Unlike the American Senate, our Senators are appointees who serve for life, somewhat like Supreme Court Justices. They are supposed to be an arms-length body appointed from a wide swath of Canadian life whose job it is to scrutinize legislation passed through the House of Commons (something akin to the American Congress, but not really).
The most distinctive features of Canadian Senators is the fact that, unless you’re particularly interested in federal politics, they’re entirely anonymous. Canadian Senators don’t really make a big splash, and they’re rarely found in the headlines except when the entire Senate is under discussion for some reason or another. That all changed when Harper appointee Patrick Brazeau agreed to a boxing match with Liberal member of Parliament Justin Trudeau. Overnight, Senator Brazeau went from anonymous public servant to household name. But of course, because nobody checks to make sure celebrities aren’t total pieces of shit, this happened: [Read more…]