My thoughts on today’s Supreme Court opinion on the roadmap to Senate Reform

S030305-014_MED6I appreciate and respect today’s Supreme Court opinion on potential and proposed Senate reforms. Although I wish we could move more quickly towards elections and term limits, I am pleased that we now have a roadmap for how to modernize Canada’s upper chamber.

As a result of this decision, it is now for the provinces and senators themselves to improve democratic accountability and transparency in the Senate.

I am hopeful that Canada’s provincial legislatures will follow Alberta’s lead in allowing their citizens a voice in who represents them in the Senate, even in the absence of formal federal legislation recognizing those results. I have yet to meet an Albertan who does not support Senate nominee elections, which are an admirable attempt to bring more democracy to Ottawa.

Term limits are important to ensure that the Senate remains a place of fresh thinking and modern, diverse perspectives. They must also be sufficiently long to preserve senators’ independence. As a result, I have committed to serving a term no longer than ten years, which I believe strikes the right balance between those two competing interests.

It is now the responsibility of the Senate to move to improve its transparency and accountability. Last year I released a 7-Point Plan with simple and practical steps to do just that, including more detailed expense disclosure and the broadcasting of debates. I am pleased that we have already seen progress on a number of those recommendations, and I look forward to continued progress on outstanding items.

Finally, now that we have greater legal certainty from the Supreme Court, senators must help Canadians understand why the Senate is a valuable component of our democracy. I ran for the Senate in 2012 because I believe it is a place where long-term thinking can be done, new ideas explored and advanced, regional interests represented, and important policy questions given careful consideration.

The Senate performs an important role in creating a healthy, just, and prosperous Canada, and I am honoured to contribute to that work.


This Post Has 4 Comments
  1. 7 Provinces and 50% + 0.1 will never happen so unless you know something that would facilitate the Constitutional restraints you and your party might want to go back to school and learn how to get along in the Senate and maybe teach your cohorts in the HoC on behavior and How to conduct the Legislation Drafting with consultation(s) with all Parties on Board. The Truth about Ottawa and the Parties Nomination Processes is Abhorrent and Party Political Theatre in Ottawa must End as well as the Authoritarian Office of the PMO/PCO. Good Luck with That.

  2. The senate could be changed at any time by simply small simple changes at a time and then eventually we might have a concensus and something that might even be a good,non-partisan body.

  3. There is one way to remedy some of the issues facing the Senate. The best way to reform the Senate would be to appoint Senators in proportional vote representation. Albertans vote for all parti but three are only Conservative Senators representing Alberta. Appointing Senators according to the percentage of votes each party gets would provide a more equitable representation of Albertan interests. I will never vote Conservative as long as the party represents Alliance/Reform interests. I know that there are many Albertans who do not vote Conservative and do not get fair representation. appointing Senators in a more proportional manner as per the vote would one consideration until we get true proprortion all representation in the House of Commons.

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