Senate Reform Act (D)

Ms. Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques for his very interesting speech. I have a question about the reality of this bill.

I find it fascinating that the federal government is in no way bound by this, which of course it cannot be because of exemptions in the Constitution Act that restrict the federal government’s ability to insist on the election of senators without consulting the provinces. However, in schedule 1 of this legislation, we have bound the provinces to hold elections and to create a list which may or may not be used. I would appreciate the member’s further thoughts.

Mr. Guy Caron: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for her question.

The big problem is that we would have a Senate whose members would be elected or appointed according to different rules. In some cases, there would be more legitimacy and the senators themselves would have a greater sense of legitimacy in certain situations. In that sense, this will create a dysfunctional Senate.

Indeed, my colleague is right when she says that the Prime Minister would still have the latitude not to follow the recommendations that come out of the plebiscites. That is a big problem. This bill creates a type of hybrid, a type of monster, and we will not necessarily know the extent of it until it happens. We are not interested in testing out that experiment. We would like to see how Canadians feel about this issue and have a party that advocates the abolition of the Senate, which is what the NDP promises to do.