Monday, April 21, 2014

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 ?

Read More :

Should Stephen Harper consult the Supreme Court ?

Quebec threatens court challenge to Senate changes

Stephen Harper has a chance to deepen his imprint on Canadian law and society, for decades to come. The sudden retirement of two Supreme Court judges has handed Prime Minister Stephen Harper the chance to remake the high court along conservative lines, opening a debate over how to select their successors.

By the time Stephen Harper’s term as prime minister is over, four years from now, more than half the judges who make up the country’s top court will have stepped down.




Name Date of birth Home province Appointed on the advice of Date appointed Mandatory retirement date
Beverley McLachlin
(Chief Justice)
7 September 1943 British Columbia Mulroney /
Chrétien (as chief justice)
30 March 1989 /
7 January 2000
7 September 2018
Ian Binnie 14 April 1939 Ontario Chrétien 8 January 1998 14 April 2014
Louis LeBel 30 November 1939 Quebec Chrétien 7 January 2000 30 November 2014
Morris Fish 16 November 1938 Quebec Chrétien 8 May 2003 16 November 2013
Marshall Rothstein 25 December 1940 Manitoba Harper 1 March 2006 25 December 2015


Legal experts now believe Mr. Harper will use his choices to usher in a decades-long course of conservative Charter of Rights rulings and low-key deference to Parliament. It conjures up a potential nightmare for the political left and civil libertarians who look to the Supreme Court to strike down laws that offend the Charter and to safeguard the rights of the accused.

From property rights to issues of federal-provincial jurisdiction to law and order, not to mention the balance between national security and individual liberties, there’s all sorts of room to help turn Canada into a more small-C conservative country.

The decisions that are being made at the Supreme Court just this year alone are going to be incredibly important, and the stuff that’s almost certainly going to end up there—prostitution, marijuana, polygamy—are all things that have a direct impact on people’s lives and their rights.

Read More :

Wikipedia Supreme Court

Remake Along Conservative Lines

How Far Can Harper Go on Supreme Court appointments ?


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