Senate Reform Act (B)

Ms. Elizabeth May: Madam Speaker, I wish to congratulate my hon. friend from Sackville—Eastern Shore for being elected the most congenial of members of Parliament five years in a row. He reflected that in not taking any hits against any person named in the Senate, who are all good people.

I want to buttress his arguments slightly by going to Bill C-7. There really is no mandatory element that senators should come from this list. Clause 3 states that the Prime Minister “must consider names from the list”. Within the schedule, paragraph 1, we have the strange construction that “Senators to be appointed for a province or territory should be chosen”.

As a student of law, I learned that we look for discretionary language “may” or mandatory language “shall”. I have never before found a “should” in legislation.

I find this whole thing rather illusory that the government is requiring anyone to come from a list that is elected. Could my hon. friend comment on that?

Mr. Peter Stoffer: Madam Speaker, the member from the Green Party is one of the finest people in our country and well-deserved of the Order of Canada.

Both she and I have been around union contracts for a long time and we know what those weasel words actually mean. At the end of the day, no matter what comes out of this, the Prime Minister, and the Prime Minister alone, will have the final say on who sits in that chamber. Those are the facts, the truth and Canadians should know this. It does not matter what is done. The process is a sham. At the end of the day, one person determines who gets to sit in the chamber. I guarantee members it will be payback time for an awful lot of people who helped that man out.