THUNDER BAY -- Count one local MP as somebody who was not the slightest bit shocked by the Supreme Court’s ruling on Senate reform.
MP John Rafferty (NDP, Thunder Bay-Rainy River) says Prime Minister Stephen Harper knew full well the Supreme Court of Canada would rule the federal government needed support of the provinces to reform the 147-year-old Senate.
“I’m not surprised it sided with the provinces, after all that is the rule,” Rafferty told CKPR Radio.
“Mr. Harper simply used the Supreme Court as a stalling tactic. He knew what the answer would be. He just doesn’t really want to deal with the Senate.”
In their ruling, which came down on Friday, the Supreme Court rejected the Harper government’s proposals, stating substantial provincial support was needed to add elections or term limits while unanimous provincial support would be required for a complete abolition.
After the decision was announced, Harper said he was taking Senate reform off the table.
Rafferty attributes the government closing the door on the long-promised reform to Harper’s “disdain” for the provinces.
Rafferty also stated his preference was for an abolition of the Senate.
He said it has become a partisan, archaic body that interferes with the democratic process.
“It’s a place that has clearly been shown with the latest scandals you can’t put party people, bag men and failed candidates and expect the Senate to deal with issues and legislation,” Rafferty said of the Senate.
“We live in the 21st century and it doesn’t make sense to have unelected and unaccountable people making decisions about legislation.”