For the second time in sixth months, and having previously taken a step towards, moved forward with and then moved forward with again and driven and driven again, the Harper government has once again advanced Senate reform.
In this case, the government has filed its factums with the Quebec Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court as concerns each court’s references on the Senate. Here is the factum for the Supreme Court, here is the factum for the Quebec Court of Appeal and here is how Pierre Poilievre, speaking to reporters this afternoon, summarized the reference questions and the government’s arguments.
Let me summarize the questions we will ask the Court and the arguments that we will make to it.
We will ask: Can Parliament enact term limits on senators so that they serve eight or nine years rather than having a job for life? We argue yes.
We ask: Can Parliament set in place a democratic vote to recommend names to the Prime Minister for the Senate? We argue yes.
We ask: Can the provinces hold a democratic vote of their own to recommend names to the Prime Minister for the Senate? Again, we argue yes.
We ask: Can the Parliament remove antiquated property ownership requirements for senators? We argue yes.
Finally, we ask: Can we abolish the Senate without the unanimous consent of the provinces? We answer yes.
Here again is the Harper government’s reference to the Supreme Court.