Manitoba may push Ottawa to abolish Senate

Manitoba's NDP government is seeking support for its bid to urge the federal government to begin talks regarding abolishing the Senate.

Attorney General Andrew Swan puts forward motion calling for talks with provinces

Manitoba Attorney General Andrew Swan introduced a motion on Tuesday calling on the federal government to launch consultations with the provinces towards abolishing the Senate, rather than wait for the Supreme Court to make a decision. (Canadian Press)

Manitoba's NDP government is seeking support for its bid to urge the federal government to begin talks regarding abolishing the Senate.

Attorney General Andrew Swan introduced a motion on Tuesday that calls on the federal government to launch consultations with the provinces immediately towards ending Ottawa's upper chamber, rather than wait for the Supreme Court to make a decision.

"It is time to get started on abolishing the Canadian Senate," Swan stated in a news release, adding that Manitoba abolished its own upper house in 1876.

The province added that the Senate these days "too often serves partisan objectives rather than public interest" and "any confidence Manitobans had in the upper house has been shaken due to the events of the past year."

Swan's motion was expected to be put to a vote in the legislature later on Tuesday.

Swan has said the Senate is "fundamentally flawed" and should be abolished, but he warned that the federal government can't go it alone.

Ottawa has been asking the Supreme Court for guidance on what it would take to reform the Senate and whether it can abolish the body without provincial consultation.

In August, the Manitoba government filed a submission arguing that the federal government cannot act alone to set term limits, hold elections for senators or abolish the upper chamber outright.

In 2009, Manitoba's all-party committee on Senate reform recommended the federal government administer and pay for elections of senators in the provinces and that these votes be held alongside federal elections.

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