Alberta, Saskatchewan back federal government bid for easy route to Senate reform
The Senate on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013. (Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, November 13, 2013 1:31PM EST
OTTAWA -- Two western provinces are backing up the federal government's argument that it should be relatively easy to reform -- or even abolish -- the Senate.
Alberta and Saskatchewan are weighing in during the second day of a historic Supreme Court hearing on the degree of provincial approval required to change the maligned, scandal-plagued upper house.
The federal government maintains it can unilaterally impose term limits and create a "consultative election" process for choosing senators, without any provincial input.
Both Alberta and Saskatchewan agree with Ottawa's position on the election of senators; Saskatchewan further agrees the federal government could also unilaterally impose a term limit, provided the term is at least 10 years.
Both western provinces also support the federal position that outright abolition would require the approval of seven provinces with 50 per cent of the population.
The vast majority of provinces maintain the hurdles should be set much higher: 7-50 provincial approval for term limits and consultative elections, unanimous consent for abolition -- a position some justices have suggested might make any change impossible.