Thee are several measures floating around Parliament on the future of the senate. To abolish it and reform it or simply to abolish it altogether. The Senate was conceived by the Fathers of Confederation as a sober second house to review legislation coming from the Commons. It is difficult to measure just how effectively the Senate does this.
There are several other knocks on the Senate: that it is a slumber chamber for superannuated party hacks (not altogether true), that it costs too much (70 million annually) for its work expenditure (it sits three days a week).
The Harper governmen’ts position is that the Senate must be reformed and if not it should be abolished. The government now has two bills in the hopper: one to restrict senate terms to eight years (senators can now sit until age 75), the other to provide for some popular consultation about senate appointments.
Polls show the Canadian public is luke-warm about the senate. A solid majority favours a national referendum on its future. A slight plurality (45 per cent) favour abolishing the senate against 41 per cent who would keep it as it is. On the matter of reform, 52 per cent would keep the senate if senators were elected.
As you would expect the idea of abolition is strongest in Quebec where 60 per cent would shut the senate down.
Would you favour a national referendum on the future of the senate?
Do you lean toward abolishing the senate or reforming it?
Do you think electing senators would be a good idea?