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Five quotes from the Supreme Court ruling on Senate reform

Any changes to senator selection would require the approval of seven provinces with 50 per cent of the population, but Ottawa had argued reform would not change the process by the letter of the law.


On the reason for the status quo:

"The framers [of the Constitution] sought to endow the Senate with independence from the electoral process to which members of the House of Commons were subject, to remove Senators from a partisan political arena that required unremitting consideration of short-term political objectives."

On non-binding elections:

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"The proposed consultative elections would … weaken the Senate's role of sober second thought and would give it the democratic legitimacy to systematically block the House of Commons, contrary to its constitutional design."

On Ottawa's argument:

"… the purpose of the bills is clear: to bring about a Senate with a popular mandate. … legal analysis of the constitutional nature and effects of proposed legislation cannot be premised on the assumption that the legislation will fail to bring about the changes it seeks to achieve."

On how to change the status quo:"… the provinces must have a say in constitutional changes that engage their interests. … The result is an amending formula designed … to protect Canada's constitutional status quo until such time as reforms are agreed upon."

On abolition:

"Abolition of the Senate would … fundamentally alter our constitutional architecture – by removing the bicameral form of government that gives shape to the Constitution Act, 1867. … [it] requires the unanimous consent of the Senate, the House of Commons, and the legislative assemblies of all Canadian provinces."

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