Stephen Harper prods a relic
Nobody can accuse Canadians of haste in reforming the Senate, the 105-seat upper chamber in their Westminster-style Parliament, modelled on Britain’s House of Lords. Debate on whether senators should be elected or named by the prime minister began even before the first senators took their appointed seats in 1867. It continues to this day. The only change (in 1965) has been to require senators to shuffle out of the door when they turn 75 rather than waiting to be carried out feet first.
Stephen Harper, the Conservative prime minister, wants to overhaul a body he calls a “relic of the 19th century”. This month he is expected to name Conservatives to fill five senate vacancies, making his party the largest in the upper house. Further retirements should give it a majority before the end of the year. But to reform the Senate Mr Harper, who leads a minority government, needs the support of at least one of the three opposition parties in the House of Commons.
The complete article from The Economist’s print edition is available online here:
Adapt or die