Posts Tagged ‘reform’

Senate of Canada. Canada Parliament [Ottawa].

Stephen Harper, Canada’s Prime Minister since 2006, with a majority government since May 2011, has introduced so-called Senate reform legislation, calling for new senators to be term-limited to nine years, and to be elected by the people in their respective provinces, all under the guise of modernizing the Senate.

Given that he’s been Canada’s Head of Government since 2006, he really should know better that such a plan is unconstitutional, because he only plans to get the support of the House and Senate in passing it.

Part V, Section 42, Subsections (1)(b) and (c) of the Constitution Acts 1867 and 1982 states:

42. (1) An amendment to the Constitution of Canada in relation to the following matters may be made only in accordance with subsection 38(1):
(b) the powers of the Senate and the method of selecting Senators;
(c) the number of members by which a province is entitled to be represented in the Senate and the residence qualifications of Senators;

Subsection 38(1) requires:

(a) resolutions of the Senate and House of Commons; and
(b) resolutions of the legislative assemblies of at least two-thirds of the provinces that have, in the aggregate, according to the then latest general census, at least fifty per cent of the population of all the provinces.

The argument is that it’s not an amendment to the Constitution. However, the Constitution of Canada is the supreme law of the land, and the institutions created by the Constitution can’t be changed by the institutions themselves, unless specifically authorized by the Constitution. Otherwise the creation is more powerful than the creator, and that’s non-sensical.

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