Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Manitoba continues to push for abolition of Senate after Ottawa's quick fix fails

  • Print
Justice  Minister Andrew Swan

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Enlarge Image

Justice Minister Andrew Swan Photo Store

Manitoba has renewed its quest to see the Canadian Senate abolished in light of a Supreme Court decision Friday that dashed federal hopes for a quick fix for the institution.

"Our view on the need to abolish the Senate has not wavered, and if anything it is stronger in light of the Supreme Court’s decision this morning," Attorney General Andrew Swan said.

"I believe Brad Wall, the premier of Saskatchewan, said it best. He said it would be difficult to abolish the Senate. It would be impossible to reform it," Swan said at the close of a news conference in which he announced the province would hire 10 more Crown attorneys and fund a beefed-up police civilian unit that works with prosecutors.

In a historic, unanimous decision, the top court advised that Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s proposals to impose term limits on senators and create a "consultative election" process to choose nominees cannot be done by the federal government alone.

Rather, the court said such reforms would require constitutional amendments, approved by at least seven provinces representing 50 per cent of the population — a route fraught with political landmines which Harper had hoped to avoid.

Moreover, the court set the bar even higher for abolishing the Senate, something Harper has threatened to do if his reform agenda is stymied. Getting rid of the chamber altogether would require the unanimous consent of all 10 provinces, the eight justices said.

"The Supreme Court has said very clearly that when we’re looking at fundamental change — at abolishing or reforming the Senate — it’s not the unilateral decision of Parliament," Swan said. "Canada is a federation, it’s a partnership and it’s necessary for the federal government to consult with and work with the provinces."

Swan said Manitoba has been clear in its position that the Senate has outlived its usefulness. He referred to the institution as "the biggest taxpayer subsidy — to some political parties in Canada — a reference to the fact that the Upper Chamber is filled with Conservatives and Liberals.

He urged the federal government to call the provinces together for a constitutional conference so "we can have a good discussion on how we get rid of an outmoded institution."

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Weather for final Fringing weekend

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A Canada goose flies towards the sun near the Perimeter Highway North and Main St Monday afternoon – See Day 10 for Bryksa’s 30 goose project - May 11, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Hay bales sit under a rainbow just west of Winnipeg Saturday, September 3, 2011.(John Woods/Winnipeg Free Press)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Should Winnipeg control growth to deal with climate change?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google