Major Reno

“You can’t ignore the fact that the country is changing and that the West is playing a much larger and more important role … if we get an elected, selected senate and have not address the issue of powers and distribution of seats it will be very difficult to after that.”

-The Honourable Dan Hays, Senator (Retired)

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A PIECEMEAL APPROACH TO SENATE REFORM IS UNACCEPTABLE:  either you do it right or you don’t bother. Canadians deserve an elected, accountable and representative Senate. Based neither on representation by population nor the equality of the provinces (or the regions for that matter), the current arrangement is particularly unfair to British Columbia and Alberta. Electing Senators would make the institution more accountable and legitimate. This reform would require opening the Constitution.

Pros: 

  • Addresses the glaring discrepancies in regional representation, which, given the Senate’s raison d’être, is an important concern
  • Would give the West, a region whose economic importance to the country grows greater by the year, its fair due
  • Would provide an important new forum for regional and provincial representation at the federal level
  • Would avoid a scenario in which an elected, newly legitimized Senate with disproportionate representation from Atlantic Canada and Quebec begins exercising real power

Cons:

  • Opening the Constitution would inevitably result in a series of contentious demands as every province scrambles to get what it determines to be its just due
  • Would set off a divisive debate that would surely strain national unity (given the near impossibility of meeting the constitutional threshold needed for change, arguably an unnecessary debate as well)

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WATCH SENATOR DAN HAYS EXPLAIN THE WEST’S RAW DEAL IN THE SENATE:

READ DR. GIBBINS’ EXPLANATION AS TO WHY THE PRINCIPLE OF PROVINCIAL EQUALITY IS A NON-STARTER (PDF) 

READ LINK BYFIELD’S PLAN TO ADDRESS REGIONAL IMBALANCES IN THE SENATE (PDF)

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MAKE YOUR CHOICE