Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Saskatchewan Repeals Elected Senate Law, Passes Motion Calling for Abolition

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Saskatchewan Repeals Elected Senate Law, Passes Motion Calling for Abolition

Article excerpt

Saskatchewan repeals elected Senate law

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REGINA - Saskatchewan has repealed legislation that would have allowed for the election of Senate nominees and passed a motion calling for the abolition of the upper chamber.

Premier Brad Wall said the Senate has "failed the test of being effective."

"You know in rural Saskatchewan when a building is falling down, sometimes you can't save it, sometimes you've got to knock it down completely and rebuild," Wall said Wednesday after the votes.

"And there are members of our caucus, I think, that are interested in the possibility there. But the point is you have to abolish it first before you can rebuild it."

The premier said many senators have done great work, but he argued there are problems with the nature of the institution. Senators may tow a political party line in Ottawa and that may not be in the best interest of the province they represent, said Wall.

"It's the way it is. And if that's the way it is -- and it's intractable in that way -- it needs to go," he said.

The law was passed in 2009 and allows for elections to choose names to be put forward to the prime minister for Senate consideration. However, no election was ever held in Saskatchewan.

The motion is largely symbolic and is not a proposed constitutional amendment.

Wall said the province could consider a constitutional motion in the future, but he wants to hear what Canada's highest court has to say first. The federal government has asked the Supreme Court of Canada to give its opinion on how to achieve change in the upper chamber, an opinion that might not come for another year.

The premier has said he believes most people in Saskatchewan agree that the Senate no longer serves any useful purpose and is not worth the $100 million in taxpayer money spent on it each year.

Wall had been a proponent of Senate reform, but said this spring that he no longer believes meaningful reform is possible. …

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