Senate reform violates law

Controversial prime minister Stephen Harper’s personal appointees to the Senate all agreed to vote in favour of his equally controversial senate "reforms" – an elected Senate and terms limits of eight to nine years – when they accepted their seats.

Editor:

Controversial prime minister Stephen Harper’s personal appointees to the Senate all agreed to vote in favour of his equally controversial senate “reforms” – an elected Senate and terms limits of eight to nine years – when they accepted their seats.

That violates the intention of the Canada Elections Act, Section 550, which prohibits written agreements binding the hands of parliamentarians elected to the Commons and does so applied to the Upper Chamber of Parliament, regardless of whether or not Senators are elected. It does not matter that the Commons is elected and the Senate appointed. The intention is clear: those seeking to be parliamentarians must not sell their vote.

What is more, election would be unconstitutional, making any elected senator a creature of party and province as well as creating two classes of senators, the politicos and the legitimate appointed senators. Limiting terms similarly diminishes the revising chamber of its ability to serve because it will cease to be parliament’s institutional memory.

Agreement to appoint so-called provincially elected senators-in-waiting, without question, opens the constitution.

Elections Canada needs to seek legal action against Mr. Harper and the Conservative Party for each instance and concerning all Harper Senators who have agreed to vote in favour of an elected Senate and limited election terms or to resign at his request.

The rule of law demands it.

Brian Marlatt, White Rock

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