Stephen Harper’s Senate

by Aaron Wherry

Postmedia tries to figure out how long the Senate could be Conservative.

A Postmedia News analysis of the current retirement dates for the country’s senators suggests the NDP would have to win, at minimum, two consecutive election victories to end Conservative dominance of the Senate. The same is true for the Liberals.

Should the NDP form a majority in 2015 (when the next federal election is scheduled), the analysis suggests it would take the party seven years to appoint enough NDP senators to overtake the Tories. This would require winning two consecutive elections at least four years apart. Should the NDP not unseat the Tories until 2019, it would take election wins through to 2034 for the New Democrats to accumulate enough Senate seats from retiring Conservatives and Liberals to wrest control of the Upper Chamber.

Jordan Press also talks to Conservative Senator Bert Brown about the Harper government’s hopes for reform.

What the NDP would do with the Senate and how a Conservative Senate would interact with an NDP government is one of the more intriguing questions for (at least) the next three years.

See previously: The NDP vs. The Senate




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Stephen Harper’s Senate

  1. Eliminate the Senate, solve the whole thing.

  2. The NDP will not appoint senators, this should be obvious to anyone who knows something about Canadian politics. The liberals tried to appoint an NDP senator and she was stripped of her party membership. Many past leaders (Coldwell) of the NDP/CCF have been offered senate appointments and turned them down on principal.

    • If ever elected they should appoint Senators. They have a responsibility to do so. Now, their stance is the Senate should be abolished, fine. But in the interim, before amending the Constitution, they would need to get legislation through both Houses of Parliament. They would need someone to introduce their legislation, someone to second it, and someone to represent the government in the Senate. The NDP position on the Senate is fine while in Opposition, but absolutely untenable in government.

      • They would have an easier time aboloshing if they actually walked the talk. Once the NDP starts appointing senators then they’re no better than Harper. If the senate began to refuse legislation they passed in the house take it to the Canadian people (much like Mulroney, thought he turned out to be another turncoat on senate reform). As this article mentions the NDP, if they won the next election, would need 7 years to stack the senate in their favour… why not get the ball rolling on abolition as opposed to turning on your principals? Otherwise are they going to be the third party in the senate and pray their legislation gets passed the Bert Brown gang?

        • The issue is that even if they made it a top priority, they would need to undertake a round of Constitutional negotiations (the NDP have also suggested putting the question to the public through a referendum, something that would also take time). My point, is that any legislation would still need to pass the Senate in the interim.

          That would mean getting someone to introduce legislation, getting someone to second it, and getting someone to represent the government in the Senate. Maybe they can get a LIberal or Independent to do it, but it’s not guaranteed.

          The smartest thing, and quite frankly responsible thing, would be to appoint Senators. Sure it would see them branded as hypocritical, but considering their original position is not something that can be done in an expeditious manner.

          If the Conservatives tried to block legislation, the NDP would have a pretty big hammer to use in advocating for Senate legislation in any referendum (and the issue of Conservatives blocking Bills would be just as likely whether there was a handful for NDP Senators or not)

  3. Wasn’t he going to exact promises that they would voluntarily step down after 8 years, or has that gone the way of fixed election dates? (as opposed to fixed elections, for which the evidence mounts).

    • Not only would they step down, they would always respect the democratically elected House of Commons and do as the governmemnt says.

      • ooh… love the sarcasm!

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