Manitoba vs. Senate reform -

Manitoba vs. Senate reform

The Manitoba government files its factum


Manitoba’s NDP government has filed its factum with the Supreme Court in regards to the Harper government’s reference on reforming the Senate. You can view that factum here or below. In short, Manitoba believes Parliament can’t unilaterally impose senatorial term limits or elections and that it would require unanimous consent of the provinces to abolish the Senate.

Here are the Harper government’s factums for both the Supreme Court and Quebec Court of Appeal references. Last week, Paul posted a number of filings from both cases including the Quebec government’s factum.

Separately, the Manitoba government reiterated its desire to see the Senate abolished.


Manitoba vs. Senate reform

  1. The best way to get consent from all provinces is with a referendum. Although it wouldn’t be binding, it would take the decision out of the hands of indirectly-elected premiers (all of whom represent a minority of voters.)

    If Canadians voted to get rid of it in all 10 provinces, any premier who stood in the way of democracy would face the wrath of voters. The senate’s fate would be sealed.

    • I think it’s over-rated as a gambit. Even with a majority in a province, if a significant minority doesn’t want it and they’re you’re people you can safely ignore it. If the majority won’t change its vote over it you can safely ignore it.

      And if you decide hmmmm 66% of my province likes a constitutional amendment on the senate, but 99% like this idea and maybe it’s time for a bit of a quid pro quo from these feds here, you can make the deal crumble and STILL be the guy who stood up for your province.

      • How can a premier “stand up” for his or her province by defying the will of its people?

        It’s pure nonsense to suggest the partisan, crony hacks that comprise the senate represent the provinces in any way, shape or form.

        The provinces should either elect senators to represent them or have the opportunity to get rid of them. Appointed politician is an oxymoron.

    • There are legitimate arguments for reforming the Senate, and if we start talking about reforming it, then there are dozens of different ideas to be entertained (Triple-E was on some party’s platform a while ago). I doubt that a question that read: “The Senate: Keep it or can it?” would be recognized as a valid referendum question.

      Though, if it were asked, I would put a check mark beside “Can it”.

    • The constitution is not changed by political accords between premiers. Amendments require the consent of legislative assemblies by majority vote. Remember Meech? Ten premiers agreed. Remember Elijah Harper?

      • Remember that all provinces agreed ,Harper is way out of line once more

      • Remember the Charlottetown Accord? Instead of premiers deciding the fate of Canadians behind closed doors the proposal was put before Canadians in a referendum. That’s the way it’s supposed to be done.

        Clyde Wells: “We must never again implement this process for Constitutional reform. It is impossible for the eleven first ministers to do justice to the matters they have to consider, and it is grossly unfair to the 26 million people of this nation to have their first minister closeted and making decisions in a secret way without letting them know what was at stake, and the basis of the decisions were made.”

        In the end, 3 provinces killed the Meech Lake: MB, NL and NB.

        MB required a unanimous vote to bypass public consultation. Elijah Harper voted no. He shouldn’t have been the only one…

        • What the SCC should tell us is whether or not you need 7-10-50 or unanimous consent to abolish the senate. That will make all the difference. With unanimous consent – 10 legislative assemblies – I wouldn’t hold my breath, even after a referendum.

          • It’s not surprising people who worship an undemocratic senate are hoping it will be saved by democracy being denied. It just supports my point that senate supporters are Nervous Nellies blindly clinging to a failed institution with no rational basis for their zealotry.