We see that you are on a “Roll up the Red Carpet” campaign to abolish the Senate, and that Craig Scott has started consultations on Proportional Representation, which we very much welcome. We will be taking part in his September 19 consultation in Toronto.
Some of us in the Canadian Electoral Alliance also support Senate abolition, but we want to see fair representation in the House of Commons first. Proportional representation, which the NDP supports, is essential. We advocate the proposal of the Law Commission of Canada for Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) as the best for Canada.
Consultations are needed, we agree, not least because the LCC made its recommendation in 2004. We note, however, that the reasons for preferring MMP have only increased since then, as is evident in studies of countries using it. Other Parliamentary reforms would be desirable as well, but PR (MMP we hope) is crucial. To abolish the Senate with the House run by under 40% majorities could be even worse than the present situation, with a Senate legally, if not morally, able to overturn legislation.
We urge that you link Senate abolition with electoral reform. People are fed up with the Senate and the overspending scandals. Choosing a system of electoral reform, however, is more complicated. We don’t want a royal commission, or any protracted process.
The Law Commission of Canada study was, in effect, a royal commission. Research was conducted, experts heard in meetings across the country, and NGO representatives given a chance to give their views. We urge you to take advantage of all this information as well as what Craig Scott turns up.
The NDP has the research resources as the Official Opposition to get proportional representation moving. Any member can get a private member’s bill drafted, which could be useful step.
We ask what you are prepared to do as Leader of the Official Opposition to advance these crucial reforms--not just Senate abolition.
Lynn McDonald, Wing Wo, Rose Dyson, Peter Venton, Dorothy Goldin Rosenberg, Janice Tait