Scant mention of scandal-plagued Senate expected in throne speech

OTTAWA – The disgraced Senate will serve as a backdrop for next week’s throne speech and is bound to dominate debate during the fall sitting of Parliament.

Yet there’ll be scant mention of the scandal-plagued Senate in the speech, which is to be read Wednesday by Governor General David Johnston from a regal throne in the ornate upper chamber.

Insiders say the government has concluded it can do little to clean up the upper house until the Supreme Court rules on the constitutional requirements for reforming or abolishing the Senate.

The government has asked the top court to advise whether it can act alone to impose term limits and create a mechanism for electing senators or would need the consent of at least seven provinces.

It has also asked the court to advise whether outright abolition would require the approval of seven or all provinces.

The court is not scheduled to hear oral arguments until next month and could take a year or more to offer its opinion.

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