Op-ed piece calling for a sortitioned Canadian Senate

Claudia Chwalisz writes in The Globe and Mail:

Replace this archaic institution with a citizens’ senate

While calling for unicameralism would be a mistake – it would reduce the government’s legitimacy due to lack of oversight – the more radical proposal of “abolition” leaves the path clearer toward true structural change that moves beyond tinkering at the edges (such as elected senators).

Why not replace the archaic institution with a citizens’ senate – a rotating group of randomly selected citizens that serve as a house of review? The random group could be stratified, to ensure representativeness of sex, age, race, socio-economic status and regional diversity, matching the makeup of Canadian society.

Granted that this is only an op-ed piece, but I have to admit I am rather amazed that the idea of a sortitionally-selected federal legislature is making it so rapidly into the mainstream.

Sortition: It’s for your own good

Claudia Chwalisz follows up on a recent article.

Chwalisz’s previous article concluded by observing that

the dilemma of how to get elected elites to relinquish their grip on the seats of power remains unresolved.

Chwalisz’s attempt at a resolution follows the lead of David Van Reybrouk. She addresses herself to the ruling class as the responsible concerned advisor who aims to help established actors find their way through troubled seas, meet the gathering hostile forces and to finally emerge maintaining as much of their power as possible.

The new article’s abstract is as follows:

New forms of contact democracy and innovative forums that allow political and economic institutions to deliberate with citizens are important steps in the long-term battle to renew representative democracy for the 21st century. They should not be seen as a threat to formal systems of government but as important add-ons that enrich democracy and give a window into the complexity of governance

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