Friday, June 21, 2013

Leger recently asked about public opinion about the Senate.   The survey was of 1,503 people on the internet.

What is most interesting is that the current form of the Senate is wildly unpopular.

           Nation  Atl  Que  Ont MB/SK AB  BC      
Abolish      32%   28%  50%  26%  32%  25% 26%
Reform #1    29%   21%  23%  36%  21%  25% 32%
Reform #2    19%   33%  13%  16%  20%  33% 17%
Status quo    5%    3%   2%   7%   5%   3%  5%
Do not know  15%   15%  12%  15%  22%  14% 20%   

Reform #1 - elected senators that are term limited and represent provinces proportionally
Reform #2 - elected senators that are term limited and each province has an equal number of senators

Of people with an opinion, 38% of the public wants the Senate abolished and 56% want it reformed and 6%   what to retain the status quo.   What I find interesting is that it is in Quebec that there is the strongest mood for abolition of the senate and the lowest level of support for abolition is in Alberta where only 29% of the people with an opinion favour abolition.

When it comes to reform, Atlantic Canada and Alberta prefer an equal senate than one that is proportional based on provincial populations.

I had really expected to see a higher level of support for the status quo in Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic Canada.   The abolition of the Senate would increase the political power in Canada of BC, Alberta and Ontario.   I am very surprised that there was not higher support for the status quo.

One very positive impact of the abolition of the Senate would be the end of the constitutional floor for MPs for provinces.   PEI and New Brunswick would not have any constitutional protection for their over representation in the House of Commons.   It would be possible to reduce their representation which then would make it possible to reduce representation for Newfoundland, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan as well.   Over all we could reduce number of MPs in Ottawa by about 15.

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