Stephen Harper pushing hard to reform the Senate

Prime Minister Stephen Harper appears to be driving hard to reform the Senate. His ‘Senate Reform Act’ contains two measures which will significantly alter the Senate as Canadians know it: term limits and elections. As it stands now, Senators are appointed by the Governor-General (but essentially picked by the Prime Minister) and can serve until they reach the age of 75. This means a 30+ year appointment for somebody like Newfoundland and Labrador’s Fabian Manning – who was appointed to the Senate in his mid 40’s. Harper’s reforms will alter the rules to have Senators elected by each province, and limited to 9 year non-renewable terms. There is resistance to the bill from some provinces who insist that the changes require constitutional amendments which in turn means the provinces have to be on board. Resistance is even coming from Conservative Senators who say the reforms will only serve to further polarize and politicize the upper chamber. The act will at least take until the end of the Fall session of Parliament to be anywhere near passing.

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