Seven Ways the Canadian Senate is Just Like Your Mennonite Elder Board


Ahh, the Canadian Senate, a collection of old irrelevant out-of-touch people who somehow have the power to make decisions around here…oh, wait, are we talking about the elder board? Well, there are some similarities. Let’s have a look:

  • They love to take their time. They’ll pretend they’re “thinking about it” when really they’re just delaying the process. Take Bill C-262, for instance: “An Act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.” Sounds fantastic, right? Well, the democratically-elected House of Commons agreed and passed the bill, but the Senate, on the other hand, is hemming and hawing worse than Elder Vogt when someone suggested we let a few women onto the board. Get on with it, people!
  • They both like free food. Canadian senators are entitled to close to $100 per diem in food expenditures. Mennonite elders, on the other hand, will never pass up an opportunity for free  pie and/or rolled up slices of ham held together with a carefully-placed toothpick.
  • They’re unelected and accountable to no one. That’s right. In our supposed democracy, we have this one throw back to the aristocracy: the Canadian senate. Not to be outdone, Mennonites have traditionally selected our elders by drawing names from Mr. Wiebe’s hat or pulling straws from Mr. Doerksen’s Bible.
  • You probably can’t name a senator…or an elder. They’re both like this mysterious force in the background, making all the decisions, cashing a nice paycheque and flying around the country to check out the latest innovations in hog breeding technology.
  • It’s the house of “sober second thought.” Sober? Well, that’s a joke, right? In both cases. Come on now, it sure seems to me like a lot of these people have got to be on something.
  • They spend most of their time taking a meddachschlop. The absentee rate in the Canadian Senate is through the roof. Likewise, Mennonite elders spend every afternoon napping and/or golfing. Board meetings usually end when Elder Friesen declares, “Nah, yo, schlope gohne.”
  • No one really knows what they do or why they exist. I’m pretty darn sure the Mennonite church and Canadian government would do just fine without these institutions. But, you know, we both tend to like tradition for the sake of tradition. Ugh…

(photo credit: Johnathan Nightingale/CC)

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