NDP will unanimously vote in favour of abolishing the Senate
Today in the Legislature, Premier Brad Wall will introduce a government motion calling for the Senate of Canada to be abolished.
Wall said he believes most Saskatchewan people think that the Senate no longer serves any useful purpose and is not worth the nearly 100 million taxpayers’ dollars it costs each year.
“Long before the current scandals which have further marginalized the Senate as a useful institution, many were questioning the relevance of an appointed group of men and women, unelected and unaccountable, potentially standing in the way of an elected House of Commons,” Wall said. “As it has become clear that reform is not possible, abolition has become the preference of Saskatchewan people.”
The government motion simply reads: “That this Assembly supports the abolition of the Senate of Canada.”
Wall said the motion is not a constitutional amendment, but simply a statement of Saskatchewan’s official position on the Senate.
“The Supreme Court will be ruling on what exactly is required constitutionally to abolish the Senate,” Wall said. “We want to wait until that ruling before considering whether to go ahead with introducing a constitutional amendment that would, of course, need the support of other provinces and the federal government.”
Wall said while he had long been a proponent of Senate reform, he no longer believes meaningful reform is possible and instead, the Senate should be abolished.
NDP Leader Cam Broten confirmed the opposition would be supporting the vote.
“As Opposition Leader, I have said I will cooperate when what the government is doing makes sense,” said NDP Leader Cam Broten. “I’m pleased this government had landed in support of our position on the Senate, and will be very pleased to take a step toward concrete change today.”
Broten highlighted that taxpayers spend $100 million per year funding the Senate and the lifestyles of senators – money the NDP believes would be better spent on things that matter to Saskatchewan families, like better health care or investments in classrooms.
“Saskatchewan families have good Saskatchewan common sense – they are not amused by the high cost of supporting senators’ lifestyles, and they’re outraged by the scandals of the Senate,” said Broten, who noted that despite the many years it took to convince the government’s party to support Senate abolition, he hopes today will be a day of cooperation between the two parties.
Broten added that today’s votes should be a starting point for the government, which should now work to convince other premiers and Ottawa to follow suit.