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Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to make a statement on Friday about the scandal-plagued Senate, with one report suggesting he would call for abolishing the Red Chamber.

The question of changing or getting rid of the Senate has had a fraught history. Here are the three options.

An empty Senate on Sept. 12, 2014. (Reuters)

Keep it the way it is

As it is now, senators are appointed by the prime minister of the day to serve until they are 75 years old. All legislation must be passed by a majority vote of the Senate, though in practice, senators rarely fail to approve bills passed by the elected House of Commons.

Many senators argue the chamber provides “sober second thought” by giving it another set of eyes from people who can have subject-matter expertise and who are not worried about facing re-election.

Supporters argue that senators facing investigation and even charges – some for questionable expenses, a couple on other counts – shouldn’t cast a negative light on the chamber’s legislative role.

Most polls suggest Canadians are not happy with the Senate the way it currently operates. In a June EKOS poll, just 11 per cent of respondents said the chamber should be left alone, while 45 per cent supported serious reform and 35 per cent said it should be abolished.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin. (Canadian Press)

Reform it

Before becoming Prime Minister and in his early days in office, Stephen Harper suggested reform as the way to fix the Senate. In 2013, the Conservative government asked the Supreme Court for guidance on the constitutionality of certain reforms, such as term limits or electing senators. (Alberta currently holds elections for Senate nominees, who must still be appointed by the prime minister of the day.)

The Supreme Court has said reforms would require the approval of at least seven provinces representing 50 per cent or more of Canada’s population.

In 2014, Justin Trudeau kicked senators out of the Liberal Party’s national caucus and said that MPs would be working at arm’s-length from the Red Chamber from now on. Mr. Trudeau also said that, if he became prime minister, he would create a “non-partisan public process” to identify and appoint candidates for the Senate.

Read The Globe’s previous coverage here:

‘Stuck with status quo’ on Senate, says Harper after court’s rejection

‘No consensus’ among provinces about reforming Senate: Harper

Read the Supreme Court of Canada’s full decision here.

NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair. (Reuters)

Get rid of it

Abolition is the stated position of federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall. It also may be the hardest to accomplish – the Supreme Court suggested abolishing the Senate would require the unanimous consent of every province.

Read The Globe’s previous coverage here:

Where Ottawa and the provinces stand on Senate reform

And here are some of The Globe’s previous columns:

KEVIN PATTERSON: Keep the Senate. Replace the Members.

JERRY DIAS: Why do we cling to an outdated Senate that does the government’s bidding?

CLAUDIA CHWALISZ: Replace this archaic institution with a citizens’ senate

HUGH SEGAL: Four steps to deal with the Senate crisis

GLOBE EDITORIAL: Since we can’t get rid of the Senate, we should try to fix it

JEFFREY SIMPSON: What the Auditor-General found: an imperfect Senate built on contraditions

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