There seems to be confusion over the constitutionality on senate reforms. Stephen Harper originally proposed an 8 year term limit, but that would let any PM have total control over 8 years. Now we hear rumors about a 10 or 12 year limit.
There is controversy over the election of senators and some of them have publicly and privately suggested they’ve changed their minds and no longer support Harper’s plan to establish provincial senate elections. This was denied by Conservative Senator Linda Frum on Wednesday.
People often complain the Senate is illegitimate and not democratic but the Senate wasn’t set up to be elected.
It was set up to be a deliberative body and not an elected body and it’s been that way for 147 years and for the most part, it seems it has worked pretty well.
Harper’s government is expected to re-introduce two bills, one setting out an election process for the provinces to establish Senate elections and another limiting a senator’s term from a possible 45 years to eight, 10 or 12 years.
The Conservatives likely will introduce the bills next month.
Currently, senators are appointed until age 75, but must be at least 30 to sit in the upper chamber.
I mean come on ! The Lower House needs the Senate, or at least some kind of entity to overlook laws to-be-passed. The Senate is like an elite-Agora, but they still added an amendment to fixed election dates listing conditions under which a date could be modified, in order to avoid clashes with religious holidays, municipal elections and referendums. Sounds kinda smart.
Most judges are appointed and nobody says they lack legitimacy, said a Conservative Senator.
“We need to have a good healthy debate on this,” he said.
However, several provinces, including Quebec and Nova Scotia, maintain it’s unconstitutional for the federal government to proceed on its own with any changes to the upper house. They argue that the Senate can only be reformed through a constitutional amendment, approved by at least seven provinces representing 50 per cent of the population.
Quebec is threatening to go to the Supreme Court, if necessary, to block Harper’s proposed reforms. Intergovernmental affairs minister, Pierre Moreau, argued this week that the Senate is part of the bargain struck at Confederation in 1867, designed to give equal representation to the regions as a counterbalance to representation by population in the elected House of Commons.
It seems Senate Reform will be harder to achieve. Maybe we should consider status-quo, with a 50% salary reduction ?
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