A resolution tabled by the Selinger government, urging the federal government to begin consultations with the provinces to abolish the Senate, passed by a 29-18 margin late Tuesday afternoon.
Voting against the resolution, introduced earlier in the day by Justice Minister Andrew Swan, was the Opposition Progressive Conservatives.
While many Tories say they support Senate reform if not outright abolition, they described Swan’s resolution as a distraction to take away attention from the government’s one-point increase to the PST without a referendum.
The government says the Senate serves partisan objectives rather than the public interest, and any confidence Manitobans had in the upper house has been shaken by the expenses scandal.
In August, Manitoba made a submission, known as a factum, which addressed the constitutional questions posed by the federal government to the Supreme Court of Canada. The province’s position was 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.
In 2009, following public consultations, the three provincial political parties agreed the Senate should be abolished or elected.