Tories to propose an elected Upper Chamber, with term limits

Two bills may be pushed through as Harper moves to capture control of the Senate

Senate reform is teetering on the horizon as Harper inches toward a Tory majority in the Senate. The Hill Times reports that Harper is expected to fill five vacancies before Parliament reconvenes on March 3, achieving plurality with the Liberals. However, with the absence of two opposition votes—Quebec Liberal Senator Raymond Lavigne, charged with misusing Senate funds, and Independent Senator Michael Pitfield, who’s been ill—the Tories stand to overthrow the Liberal majority. The proposed reform is comprised of two bills, one imposing term limits, the other initiating a process whereby Senators would be elected at the provincial level. Several provinces say that any change to the Senate is unconstitutional without consent from the provinces, while critics say that an elected Upper Chamber would throw off the balance of power between it and the House of Commons. Liberal MP Marlene Jennings notes that her party may support 12-year term limits instead of eight-year, as the shorter term could potentially allow a Prime Minister who serves two full terms to appoint every Senator.

The Hill Times

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