Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff has come out and proposed his ideas for senate reform.
- 12 year term limits
- pass appointments through a public service appointment commission
Well, let's look at an Angus-Reid poll conducted back in September 2009.
In the online survey of a national representative sample, three-in-four Canadians (75%) dislike the current form of the Senate. Three-in-ten (30%) say the country does not need a Senate and that legislators in the House of Commons should be responsible for reviewing and passing all proposed bills. Meanwhile, 45 per cent think Canada needs a Senate, but would like people to participate in the process of electing its members.Prime Minister Harper's government tried to put through the senate that would limit senators terms to 8 years, which from the above poll, 66% of Canadians support the idea. As well, it appears that only 36% agree with creating a committee to do the appointments.
Canadians are definitely eager to engage in a conversation on Senate reform, with 72 per cent of respondents saying they support holding a nationwide referendum on the issue.
Roughly two thirds of respondents favour the idea of limiting the terms of appointed senators to eight years (66%), or allowing Canadians to elect senators directly (68%). Only 36 per cent of respondents like the idea of creating a panel of distinguished Canadians to appoint new senators.
With the recent appointment of five senators, the Conservatives will have a plurality in the upper house with 51 seats compared to the Liberals 49.
So now, if you do not think Harper is serious about senate reform, you cannot deny that he has certainly drawn a lot of attention to it. Not only that, but with the appointment of so many senators committed to reform, especially with the appointment of Ontario Tory MPP Bob Runciman, who was a supporter of the Canadian Alliance party when it was created, and also a supporter of senate reform, these are very strong indications that some form of reform is on its way.
And isn't it also now clear to everyone that the main reason for Harper proroguing parliament was that he saw this excellent opportunity to move forward in not only gaining some potential control over the senate, but to also move this country, with its 19th century senate system, to a 21st, modern, Australian-style upper house.