Wednesday, August 28, 2013

August 27, 2013 MANITOBA TO FILE FACTUM ON SENATE REFORM REFERENCE IN THE SUPREME COURT OF CANADA – – – Federal Government Should Consult Provinces to Abolish Senate: Swan Manitoba’s submission, known as a factum, on the constitutionality of potential measures to reform the Senate will be filed in the Supreme Court of Canada today, Attorney General and Justice Minister Andrew Swan has announced. Manitoba, in conjunction with other provinces and territories, is intervening in the federal government’s reference question on the matter to the Supreme Court of Canada. “Here in Manitoba, the provincial senate was abolished in 1876,” said Swan. “In our view, the Senate is fundamentally flawed and it’s time to abolish it. I urge the federal government to engage the provinces in consultation with the ultimate goal of finding consensus to abolish the upper chamber.” Manitoba’s submission addresses the constitutional questions posed by the federal government to the Supreme Court of Canada. The province’s position is that Parliament does not have the constitutional authority to enact significant unilateral changes to the structure of the Senate or to the selection of its members, Swan said, adding those changes require consultation and agreement with the provinces. If there continues to be a Senate in Canada, Swan said future senators should be chosen through an election process. In 2009, Manitoba’s all-party Special Committee on Senate Reform recommended the federal government fund and administer any elections of senators in the provinces and that these elections be held in concert with federal elections during the federal election cycle. There is currently a private member’s resolution before the Manitoba legislature calling for the abolition of the Senate sponsored by James Allum, MLA for Fort Garry-Riverview. - 30 -

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