Thursday, May 28, 2009

Senate Reform — Third Attempt

A government bill to set fixed term limits for Senators has been reintroduced in the Upper Chamber as bill S-7.

The bill proposes restricting Senate tenure to a single 8-year term, unless a Senator attains the age of 75 earlier. A Senator whose term got interrupted (e.g., one who chose to resign and run for a seat in the Commons,) could be summoned again for the reminder of his term. The term limit would only apply to the Senators appointed after the 2008 Federal election. For those 18 of them that have been already appointed, the 8 year term officially begins on the day S-7 becomes law.

The only thing that the new bill doesn't address is the method by which the Senators are selected. So we'll once again have the opposition arguing that if the bill passes in its current form, then a Prime Minister that stays in power for 8 years or longer, gets to reappoint every single Senator. In my opinion, there should be an amendment that would either delay the coming to force of this bill until the Senators are elected or compel the House of Commons to introduce and pass the Senate Elections bill by a certain deadline, if not both.

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