Sober Second Thought


The often-cited designated role of the Senate in Canada’s Parliament.

Sir John A. Macdonald was the first to describe the Red Chamber as a body of “sober second thought” that would curb “democratic excesses” in the elected House of Commons.

The description is doubly ironic given a) Sir John A’s own low regard for “sobriety” and b) the Senate’s long reputation (fairly on not) for wining and dining without restraint at the public expense.

Notwithstanding the many positive contributions made by the Senate, its committees, and individual senators through the years, when the term “sober second thought” is employed today, you can be sure that it is almost certainly being used sarcastically.

Image source: Wikimedia


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