Michael Chong's Reform Act passes in the Senate
Amendment proposed by Tory senators to derail bill goes down to defeat Monday
Conservative MP Michael Chong's private member's bill to shift some power away from party leaders and toward members of Parliament has been passed by the Senate.
"The Reform Act passed by Senate of Canada 38 to 14 and will become law," Chong tweeted Monday evening.
Before the bill's passage, senators had voted down an amendment to kill the Reform Act, 46-14 with four abstentions, according to a tweet by Chong.
Two Conservative senators, David Wells backed by Denise Batters, introduced the amendment shortly after the House of Commons adjourned last Friday. With the Commons adjourned for the summer, a vote in favour of the amendment would have killed the bill.
.<a href="https://twitter.com/SenateCA">@SenateCA</a> defeats amendments proposed to <a href="https://twitter.com/TheReformAct">@TheReformAct</a> 46 to 14 with 4 abstentions. Now let's get a final vote! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/cdnpoli?src=hash">#cdnpoli</a>—@MichaelChongMP
So, too, would have failure to pass the bill before the Senate adjourns for the summer. That could happen as early as Tuesday, although the Senate is scheduled to sit Thursday and Friday after pausing Wednesday for Quebec's St-Jean Baptiste Day holiday.
Earlier, in a telephone interview with CBC News, Chong had said killing the bill in the Senate would send "a very troubling message" ahead of the next federal election.
"It would tell people, that no matter who they vote for, their vote doesn't count."
"I think that would be an outrage," he said.
One of the key parts of the bill would give MPs in a party caucus the power to trigger a leadership review and to subsequently vote to oust their leader.
In a sharply worded speech, Wells pointed out that Chong had unsuccessfully tried to get rank and file Conservative party members to support his ideas at policy conventions.
"Mr. Chong's workaround was to bring it to Parliament as a private member's bill, divide the caucus … and then bully the Senate into bending to his wishes," Wells said.
But Chong had argued that an unelected Senate has no right to block a bill that was passed with the support of all parties in the House of Commons.
With files from CBC's Susana Mas and The Canadian Press