Ottawa: The Supreme Court has ruled that Parliament cannot enact major reforms to the Senate on its own. This is setback to Harper who was trying to make the unelected upper house more democratic.
The court said Harper’s Plan B — to abolish the Senate if reform proved impossible — must win the approval of the legislatures of all 10 provinces, not just an outright majority.
Parliament has two chambers, the elected House of Commons and the Senate, whose members are named by prime ministers over the years and which rarely blocks House legislation.
Pierre Poilievre, Minister of State for Democratic Reform commented on the Supreme Court’s opinion on the Senate reference. He said, “Our Government asked the Supreme Court of Canada for a legal instruction manual on how to proceed with Senate reform. Our Government has always been committed to reforming the Senate. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has decided Parliament cannot make meaningful reforms. We will continue to do everything we can to minimize costs in the Senate and make it more transparent and accountable to Canadians. We remain committed to making the Senate a more accountable institution.”