Through their many ill-conceived bills, the government and the House of Commons demonstrated during the 41st Parliament that we need a second chamber. As a result of power being overly concentrated in the Prime Minister’s Office, many omnibus bills did not receive proper study and several laws were declared unconstitutional by the courts.
These facts highlight the basic purpose of the upper chamber of Parliament: to better represent Canada’s regions and minorities. “The Senate enables each region to have a more equitable number of seats and it better represents women, Aboriginal peoples and minority groups. The Senate is better equipped than the House of Commons to fulfill these fundamental roles,” she explained.
For example, it was the Senate that identified and debated at length a provision of Bill C-60 that severely penalized credit unions by taxing them in the same way as the country’s major banks. The House of Commons did not notice this error, and new legislation had to be enacted the following year to correct it.
The Senate also opposed Bill C-377, which attacked labour organizations and workers’ rights.The next government would benefit from listening to the Senate on such issues rather than having to back-pedal or be forced to do so by the courts.
“The political system in the House of Commons is dominated by the political parties and their partisan and electoral interests. That’s why Canada needs an independent, unelected second chamber that is more representative of the country’s diversity and can take a more informed look at bills”. “During the 41st Parliament, the Senate had key moments that revealed its potential but also showed that it was influenced too often by partisan politics. Measures must be introduced to increase its independence.”