Nov 12, 2013
By Andy Johnson
Abolish or reform? The Supreme Court of Canada is hearing arguments today to see if the “chamber of sober second thought” can be reformed or abolished. The Harper government wants to know if it can proceed unilaterally in imposing term limits on senators, create a process for electing senators or do away with the Senate altogether and if so, how to go about it. The provinces argue that constitutional hurdles to abolition or reform of the senate should be set higher than the current model. At the momenty, reform requires the approval of at least seven provinces and abolition requires unanimity. The provinces acknowledge that a high standard would make reform or abolition virtually impossible. They maintain the Senate is an essential part of the agreement struck at Confederation, to give smaller provinces and minorities an equal voice balance the more populous provinces in the House of Commons.