Keep the Senate secondary - Macleans.ca

Keep the Senate secondary

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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?