Manitoba is intervening, along with other provinces, in a federal government action in the Supreme Court concerning the Canadian Senate.
The province is filing a submission today on the constitutionality of potential measures to reform the Senate, says Justice Minister Andrew Swan.
"Here in Manitoba, the provincial senate was abolished in 1876," said Swan. "In our view, the Senate is fundamentally flawed and it's time to abolish it. I urge the federal government to engage the provinces in consultation with the ultimate goal of finding consensus to abolish the upper chamber."
Manitoba's submission addresses the constitutional questions posed by the federal government to the Supreme Court of Canada. The province's position is that Parliament does not have the constitutional authority to enact significant unilateral changes to the structure of the Senate or to the selection of its members, Swan said, adding those changes require consultation and agreement with the provinces.
If there continues to be a Senate in Canada, Swan said future senators should be chosen through an election process. In 2009, Manitoba's all-party Special Committee on Senate Reform recommended the federal government fund and administer any elections of senators in the provinces and that these elections be held in concert with federal elections during the federal election cycle.
Earlier this month, Premier Greg Selinger said Ottawa was taking a sensible approach in asking the High Court for guidance in determining which Senate reforms are possible without provincial approval.
Selinger added, however, that no province or region within the country should feel worse off as a result of any Senate reform.
There is currently a private member's resolution before the Manitoba legislature calling for the abolition of the Senate sponsored by James Allum, MLA for Fort Garry-Riverview.