OTTAWA– Liberal Democratic Reform critic Stéphane Dion made the following statement today on the Conservative government’s announcement that the Senate reform bill, C-7, will be referred to the Supreme Court of Canada:
“After six years of repeated calls from the Liberals to refer their Senate reform bill to the Supreme Court to determine the constitutionality of these ill-conceived changes, the Harper Conservatives have finally accepted that this is the only legally permissible option.
Bill C-7 will have wide-ranging implications, produce gridlock between the two Houses of Parliament, and still leaves Alberta and B.C. grossly underrepresented. In 1979, the Supreme Court even ruled that if the federal government were to unilaterally impose Senate term limits that were too short, it would find the change to be unconstitutional.
Conservative House Leader Peter Van Loan first called our recommendation ‘a resolution that represents a real danger to Canadian democracy’. Today we are very pleased to see that the Harper Conservatives have finally seen the error in their ways and accepted that a referral to the Supreme Court is the only route outside of partisan politics to obtain an opinion on the constitutionality of this important matter.”