June 11, 2015

Should the Canadian Senate be abolished once and for all?

Marissa SemkiwArchive

With public approval of the Senate at a low, more and more Canadians are floating the idea of abolishing the institution completely.

As lawyer Edward Prutschi explains, this would be easier said than done.

He explains that unanimous parliamentary approval would be required from every legislature across the country to accomplish this, then the Constitution would have to be amended.

Smaller provinces may be reluctant to go along, he notes, because the Senate allows them to wield more power than they usually do in the legislative process.

What role would a referendum play in the abolition process? Would reforming the Senate be a wiser move?

We talk about all the complex steps that would be involved in this drastic and unprecedented move.

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commented 2015-06-14 15:34:45 -0400
Don’t abolish, put it out of order. Don’t appoint new senators and dismiss the senators who are there now. The Senate will be empty and have no effect. Pass legislation for dismissing senators and for bypassing the Senate.
commented 2015-06-12 10:30:20 -0400
In our proud British parliamentary tradition we have the supremacy of parliament. This was used by former PM PET to turn the constitution inside out to suit the Quebec faction. The Quebec Senate was eliminated by the Quebec government of the day with no constitutional problems. The Quebec Senate was put in place to protect the rights of anglos in Quebec. We should be able to get rid of the Canadian senate just as easily.
commented 2015-06-12 08:46:45 -0400
Would somebody please show me where in the constitution it says that 1) The Prime Minister is the one who appoints Senators and 2) That 100% of the provinces need to agree to abolish the Senate? It’s amazing how lawyers and judges can find rules that don’t exist, isn’t it?
commented 2015-06-12 05:58:30 -0400
Since it’s near impossible to get rid of the Senate, we need to have the right to elect the Senate. This would be the only way we tax payers can hold the them accountable. The taxpayers of this country must stand up and demand this from our would be leaders in this next election. Tom Mulcair is just lying to you as you can see about a polishing this. There is no way we he can do this. So that leads us to only one option. This is to reform it. Take this power of appointing a senator out of the hands of the Prime Minister and put it in our hands, because that is where it should have been in the first place.
Also this 21 million dollar audit is an incredible amount just to find what a million dollars in misspent money? This wilful spending spree to those that seem to have free access to our tax dollars needs to stop or at least explained why it cost so much!
commented 2015-06-11 23:20:21 -0400
What Maurice said.

We can’t abolish the senate. The rules have to be perfectly clear and abided to. It has been too slack, and really, liberal or conservative, the trough feeding was equal, and can be easily stopped, it just needs to be. A sober second thought is a good thing. Maurice has mentioned before that Senators and Supreme court judges need to have limited reigns of power. Be elected not appointed?
What Maurice said.
commented 2015-06-11 22:02:17 -0400
“Keeping his French citizenship should equal immediate resignation.”

That would only be demanded (by the left, of course) if a Conservative held a dual citizenship while holding a position as an MP.
commented 2015-06-11 21:19:44 -0400
Before Mulcair demands our government turn itself inside out and reopen constitutional changes, he should decide which country he owes his allegiance. Mulcair, we should all note, has dual citizenship: France and Canada.

If he wants to run for Prime Minister of CANADA, he should renounce his French citizenship. Actually, as an MP he should decide which country he belongs to. Keeping his French citizenship should equal immediate resignation.
commented 2015-06-11 21:14:51 -0400
How many new Senators could Harper appoint ? Is it 14 ,15 16 17. He has not bothered to do it.

I wonder if Justin or Mad Tom will be so astute. ?
Nor likely.
commented 2015-06-11 21:14:22 -0400
If the Senate is abolished, then Parliament has a rubber stamp to implement whatever laws it wants, without any “refining”. Even now, with our completely wasteful and mostly-ineffective Senate, proposed legislation gets sent back to Parliament for tweaking, periodically. Without a Senate, even that wouldn’t happen.

Are we seriously going to rely on the Supreme Court to “refine” laws passed by Parliament? The Supreme Court writes its own laws without obstruction even now, and obstructs (or at least calls “unconstitutional”) laws it doesn’t like from Parliament…

We’d be better off leaving the Senate alone for now, and reforming the Supreme Court! …but that wasn’t the question posed…
commented 2015-06-11 20:43:37 -0400
I would like to see a completely non-partisan elected senate. I’d also like to see their mandate changed somewhat. I believe their loyalty should first and foremost to their constituents, not a political party. I don’t think their mandate should include holding up the passage of any bill passed through parliament, though they should have a deciding voice in how the legislation is implemented in their electoral district. They should also have the power to hold a referendum in their riding re: how federal legislation should be implemented and enforced within that riding, however the cost of any such referendum should come out of their own coffers. Of course, if none of these changes can be implemented, just abolish it.
commented 2015-06-11 20:06:53 -0400
Reforming it so the senators have to be elected, or at least the PM appoints senators that were elected in the provinces, and making fixed terms along with a maximum of two two terms, whether consecutive or not, would be a good start.

I wonder if that would take much to push that through.
commented 2015-06-11 19:56:27 -0400
What about a plan that was floated more than 10 years ago, one that has had so much Opposition (until lately)?

How about Reforming the Senate, instead of Abolishing it?
commented 2015-06-11 18:52:23 -0400
Joan said, “But I wish our prime ministers would appoint deserving Canadians instead of the entitled ones.”

The problem is determining whether they are going to become one of those who feel entitled. How does a PM determine ahead of time how a senator will act in the future?
commented 2015-06-11 18:47:10 -0400
Just repeating one of my comments from another thread.

Since the Supreme Court have taken it upon themselves to give up being part of the process that enforces the law, and now appears to have replaced the Senate as the institution that provides so-called sober second thought to our government’s intentions, that to me is as good a reason as any for one of these two organisations to go and take a flying leap, and I don’t particularly care which one does.

Make them an offer they can’t refuse. Tell each organization that the first one that turns itself into an elected body gets to live on. The one that comes in second gets to take that flying leap that I mentioned earlier.

Rick? I think it was you who didn’t think this was practical? I still like it.
commented 2015-06-11 18:43:16 -0400
I don’t think that lawyers should even be permitted to run for office in the House of Commons…the potential for conflict of interest by enacting laws that serve mostly as a feeding frenzy for lawyers is painfully obvious to me as it should be to others.

But appointment to the Senate should have a substantial background in the law as a qualifying factor. The “sober second look” should be from experience in the practical problems of enforcing and interpreting laws. If this approach to reform were adopted the Supreme Court would eventually become an ad hoc as needed committee that would be rarely convened .
commented 2015-06-11 17:53:54 -0400
The idea of a second chamber to take a sober look at laws being written is a good one. But I wish our prime ministers would appoint deserving Canadians instead of the entitled ones. A senate seat whould not be something that can be bought with money and/or patronage.
commented 2015-06-11 17:40:01 -0400
There is some merit in a parliamentary democracy a Senate can act as somewhat of a counter balance to the House Of Commons. However, this task should not be going on in an atmosphere of entitlement! It is interesting the regressive progressives are making such a stink of this with the Conservative Gov’t when in fact this has been going on for years. (Nearly half or better are Liberals, the top five of which four are Liberals!) This is just another tool to smear the Conservatives with. Were the Gov’t to take some agressive moves on addressing this, such as the reform that ended up in the SCOC, the regressive lefties would still be up in arms. Y’know, taking away their “entitled to their entitilements”!