Irish voters have rejected a plan to abolish their upper chamber in a historic referendum.
The official results of the plebiscite released on Saturday show that 51.7 per cent of Ireland's citizens voted to keep their Senate which, like Canada's, is un-elected and yields no essential powers.
According to Associated Press, the result was a surprise -- most opinion polls suggested that the majority of voters supported abolition.
Voter turnout was at 39.2 per cent.
On Friday, a Canadian senator said that we in this country shouldn't be comparing Ireland's Senate and ours.
"Our systems of government (our is federal,theirs unitary) and respective country size are so different,and their senate so different from ours,that I am not sure there is any parallel," Segal said in an email to Yahoo Canada News on Friday morning.
In many respects, Segal is correct. Ireland does not have the same issues with regard to provincial and regional representation that we do in Canada.
Certainly, one would think pro-abolitionists in Ireland would have had an easier time axing their upper chamber than we would here.
As explained the Toronto Star's Tim Harper, the Irish had a more direct path.
"A much smaller country, its leaders are not confined by the constitutional straitjacket in which Canadian politicians find themselves. Stripped of the limiting combinations of provincial and population support needed here to reform or abolish, Ireland needs only a simple vote of 50 per cent plus one," Harper wrote.
"No regional court or constitutional challenge looms."
Regardless what happened in Ireland, Senator Segal is renewing his calls for a referendum in Canada. While, he doesn't believe in abolishing the Senate, he thinks Canadians should ultimately decide its fate.
"The democratic principle should apply everywhere," he said.
"The sooner we have our referendum on our Senate's future,the better!"
(Photo courtesy of the Canadian Press)
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