Stephen Harper ‘would seek a constitutional amendment’

“Prime Minister Stephen Harper would seek a constitutional amendment to give the House of Commons primacy over any future elected Senate, says Mr. Harper’s point-person on reform in the Senate,” Kathryn Blaze Carlson wrote for a National Post online article yesterday. Blaze Carlson continued, “Senator Bert Brown, who was elected in Alberta before Mr. Harper appointed him in 2007, said the Prime Minister would consider asking Parliament and the provinces for a constitutionally entrenched mechanism that would prevent gridlock or even a Senate-sparked government shutdown. The mechanism would only be necessary if Mr. Harper gets his way and nudges Canada toward a mostly or entirely elected Senate. ‘I think he’s [open to a single amendment] because that’s what we’ve discussed right from the time I was appointed Senator,’ Mr. Brown said Tuesday, five days after the Harper government asked the Supreme Court of Canada to define what is required to reform or abolish the red chamber. The Conservative’s latest bill on Senate reform proposes nine-year term limits and prescribes a process in which provinces and territories could elect senators who would then be considered for appointment. Should the Supreme Court decide the government can pass those aspects of reform without an amendment — which requires the approval of the Senate, the House and seven provinces representing 50% of the population — Mr. Harper hopes provinces will increasingly follow Alberta’s lead, Mr. Brown said.” Read the full article here. | Raymond Matt, CFP, CLU, TEP, CHS

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