Manitoba Premier Gary Doer has jumped into the debate over Canada's Senate, calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to abolish Parliament's upper house.
Doer made the remark after Harper's throne speech last week made vague references to reforming the Senate.
Doer says Manitoba had a senate once, but got rid of it in 1876 to save money.
The fact that we now have two Premiers advocating abolishing the Senate should give the reform people pause. Harper's bandaid solution is not progress, in fact it will undoubtedly open up an entirely different set of problems. Once elected, Senators have no accountability to the electorate and can operate with impunity until they are 75. Senator's will also be emboldened to challenge parliament because the main criticism that it lacks legitimacy because it is an appointed body will be lifted. The potential for gridlock and partisan politics, ala the American system, is a real concern with this patchwork proposal.
Harper shortsighted reforms, meant to appease westerners is clearly generating some resistence with Premiers, who ultimately will have to have a say if any reforms are to have constitutional relevance. McGuinty's call for abolishing could be dismissed because of Ontario's power, but adding Manitoba's voice gives the idea more credibility.