Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the Senate faces abolition if it and the government's parliamentary opponents keep stonewalling attempts at reform.Layton's push for abolition is being used by Harper as a cudgel to threaten if he doesn't get his desired reforms. If Layton thinks his push for abolition is going anywhere, he's seriously misguided. He's simply providing Harper with a convenient flank in his attempt to neutralize the current Senate's influence.
Harper told the Vancouver Board of Trade the Tories have proposed cutting terms for senators to eight years, instead of a maximum of 45 years. But the prime minister says the government has been unable to get any of the changes through Parliament.
Harper says the Conservatives are dedicated to the basic proposition Canada needs the Senate to change, and if it can't be reformed most Canadians will eventually conclude it will have to be abolished.
And does the Canadian public know what kind of reform Harper wants, anyway? Is it just a term limit or is there more? He says the Conservatives are dedicated to the notion that the Senate needs to "change" but there are no substantive details offered. It appears, instead, that the emphasis of Harper, and Layton, thus far, is their own political self-interest, not any vision of what the federation would look like with an abolished Senate or a reformed one. So let's hear it, fellas. What is your vision of the federation then? Or is it just destruction of the Senate as we know it?
It's a whole lot of hooey so far. And it's an inauspicious way to launch a successful constitutional change.