Keep the Senate secondary

Kathryn Blaze Carlson’s consideration of an elected Senate includes an intriguing anecdote from Senator Bert Brown.

Mr. Brown recalls how he and Mr. Harper discussed at Caesar’s how a reformed, elected Senate and an unchanged House of Commons might interact: A Senate with newfound democratic legitimacy might rival the House in ways never before seen, and both men knew there was nothing in the Constitution preventing a deadlock or even a Senate-sparked government shut-down.

The prime minister asked Mr. Brown to come up with a mechanism that would protect the supremacy of the House of Commons. But that safeguard would require the sort of stand-alone constitutional amendment Mr. Harper knows would be a nightmare to attempt.

This begs various questions: Is the government going to act to protect the supremacy of the House of Commons? If so, how? And if the Senate is to remain secondary, why not just abolish it?

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