The notion that the lack of an elected senate in anyway constitutes a democratic deficit is patently absurd. As is implied by the notion of a triple E senate, for example, the senate in its current form is an "ineffective" body devoid of any real powers. Needless to say, a body that adds nothing to the genuine "effective" democratic process of the House of Commons can not take away anything either.
Still, that begs the question: would Canada be better off with two “effective” houses? The answer is no. As Benjamin Franklin put it, having two equally matched houses makes as much sense as tying two equally matched horses to either end of a buggy and having them both pull. However, for most of the supporters of such an idea that was precisely the point. As the name of Britain’s two houses, the House of Lords and the House of Commons, indicate the purpose of having a second House was to check the will of common people. The purpose of the Canadian senate was to do the same.
Unfortunately for the US, political necessity gave US supporters of the Second House, modeled on the British parliamentary system, the upper hand over true democrats, such as Franklin. Agreement was not possible unless the smaller states were given the power to override, or at the very least temper the will of the majority of Americans. The slave owning south, for one, wanted to insure that the institution of slavery was maintained. The lack of any sort of party discipline together with a bicameral house is a potent brew indeed. Regional interests make out like bandits, the lobbyist’s play divide and conquer and the need to water down legislation that has the support of the majority of Americans would have warmed the heart of anti democratic plutocrats, such as Adams. Alaska, for example, has a 1000 times the political clout of, say, PEI, even though Alaska makes up a smaller portion of the US population than PEI Canada’s. To top things off, a lack of any sort effective caps on corporate campaign contributions means that only the richest of the rich have the economic wherewithal to run for the Senate. Indeed, one could make a pretty good case that the original Senate, with its land ownership requirements, was open to greater percentage of the population than the current one is.
Naturally the Conservatives are committed emulating the American system and as bad as that is, things have the potential of getting a whole lot worse. (Harper was once committed to abolishing caps on corporate donations, but has since reversed course.) Being unable to “reform” the Senate in one fell swoop, Harper has proposed electing effective Senators piece meal. It is hard to image a dumber idea. In the long term, the effect of such a process would be to transform an unelected political body with no power into a largely unelected political body with real political power. In the short term, it would commit Canadians to the farcical and expensive act of electing people to office who hold no real power. If that was bad enough it would give provinces, such as Novo Scotia, power way out of proportion to their actual population.