The Ontario government is speaking out against Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Senate reform agenda, opening the door for a constitutional challenge of the newly tabled legislation. “We do believe it requires provincial consent to move forward,” Ontario Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Monique Smith told the Toronto Star on Tuesday. Québec has already served notice that it will issue a legal challenge of the reform bill, echoing Ontario in arguing that the provinces must be consulted in order for Senate reform to be legitimate. The federal NDP, as well as the governments of Ontario, Nova Scotia and Manitoba, feel the Senate should simply be abolished. Reports have also emerged that some Conservatives senators are opposing the reforms. Harper’s legislation would impose nine-year term limits on all senators appointed after 2008, and would create a voluntary framework for provinces to elect potential Senate appointees.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011