Canada's two largest provinces have waded forcefully into the Senate reform debate, arguing that Prime Minister Stephen Harper must obtain provincial consent to change the upper chamber.
Ontario and Quebec have joined New Brunswick in contending that the Harper government cannot unilaterally tinker with the make-up of the so-called chamber of sober second thought.
And Quebec is going further: Premier Jean Charest wants the federal government to withdraw Bill C-43, aimed at creating a process for electing senators. He also wants the government to suspend work on bill S-4, which would impose an eight-year limit on senatorial terms, until it gets provincial consent.
How about the "west"?:
In a letter to the Senate committee, Saskatchewan Government Relations Minister Harry Van Mulligen says his province "does not support an incremental approach to reforming the Senate and does not support Bill S-4."
B.C.'s intergovernmental relations minister, John van Dongen, says Senate reform is not a high priority for his province, which would rather abolish the Senate than reform it. He says B.C. "does not have strong views on either the substance of the bill or its constitutional implications."
Given the outright rejection of Canada's two most populus provinces, lukewarm response, at best in the "west", who exactly is Harper hoping to sway with this latest round of attack ads? Who does Stephane Dion think he is exactly, standing in the way of a possible unconstitutional reform package, with no support from the provinces? Let the ads run, this dog won't hunt.