B.C. Liberals support keeping Canadian Senate

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February 17, 2014

VICTORIA — The B.C. New Democrat Opposition introduced a motion in the legislature to support the abolition of the Senate, but the motion failed to pass due to the B.C. Liberals’ support for keeping it.

“We wanted to send a signal to Ottawa that B.C. supports the abolition of the senate as many Canadians do. The legislature of Saskatchewan unanimously passed a similar motion recently, and we hoped B.C. could do the same,” said New Democrat intergovernmental relations critic Bruce Ralston.

“B.C. Liberal members brought forward a number of strange arguments,” said Ralston. “One backed up the need for the Senate because there are elected state senates in the United States that bear little resemblance to our unelected and outdated upper house. Another said it should stay because it used to do good work 60 years ago. And another touted the senate’s ability to block legislation to prevent a government he disagrees with from governing.”

In moving the motion, Ralston noted that Premier Clark has taken repeatedly changing positions on the Senate based on her political needs. She’s gone from supporting abolition, to capping the number of senators, to suggesting we could add more senators for B.C. without making a constitutional amendment.

“It looks like the premier’s lack of understanding of the constitution when it comes to the senate extends to her caucus as well,” added Ralston. “A number of them argued this is a federal issue, completely ignoring the fact that it requires provincial consent to change or abolish the senate.”