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Jagmeet Singh vows to abolish Senate if elected

There is a fair chance the abolishment of the Senate won’t be happening anytime soon given that it is NDP’s Jagmeet Singh saying it, but still, he does make and raise some fair points.

Abolishing the Senate would give Canadians better representation, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said on Tuesday.

“The reality is the Senate doesn’t really represent people,” he told reporters during a campaign stop in Toronto. “They represent the Liberal party, they represent the Conservative party. They don’t represent the people and their interests. They’re more interested in being a mouthpiece for the political parties that appointed them.”

Singh’s pledge to abolish the Senate, though, would be no easy constitutional feat. It is easier said than done because doing so requires the unanimous consent of the country’s provinces.

A landmark ruling from the court in 2014 also said other reforms like electing senators or imposing term limits, proposed by the previous Conservative government, would require agreement from at least seven provinces representing half the national population.

The New Democrats propose working with the provinces to get rid of the institution. This would be about as easy as PM Trudeau’s attempt to work with provinces on his climate change initiative.

Leaders of the Atlantic provinces, in particular, raised concern that killing the upper chamber would mean fewer voices in Parliament for a region of the country that often feels ignored and taken for granted, and raised concerns about what fewer regional senators would mean for each province’s allotment of seats in the House of Commons.

The Constitution assures no province can have fewer seats in the House of Commons than it has in the Senate.

Conservative Senate whip Don Plett told The Canadian Press in June that he felt it was a “ridiculous sham” to suggest the Senate under Trudeau’s reforms is any different from upper chambers in the past.

He accused independent senators of being partisan Liberals, in spirit if not in name, because all were appointed by Trudeau, who also had a say in who sat on the advisory body that made recommendations.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has said he would resume making partisan appointments, although he has also supported the idea of elected senators in the past.

The NDP proposes immediately adopting a system of mixed-member proportional representation, which advocates argue better reflects the will of voters in the popular vote, followed by a referendum on the matter after two election cycles. -CINEWS

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