Topic 5: The Senate
-In S.17 of Constitution act the senate is recognized as a part of parliament
-Equal in powers of the house (in theory)
-Image problem: More of an issue today. In reality, it is secondary to the house and not taken seriously
enough. Senate is a "resting place" for the "old folks"=legitimacy problem
The Senate: Constitutional Provisions:
-1867: In the House, Quebec was in a minority position. Part of the deal of getting confederation
together was to have the basis of representation of the upper house be territory by regional basis not
provincial basis (i.e. Ontario and Quebec were regions but all Maritimes were only one region). House
was democratic chamber, senate was supposed to be a place of sober second thought.
-Qualifications of S.23: Property: you had to have a minimum of $4000 worth of property in the region
you're elected in. (equal to about $200000 today). Income: You had to have at least $4000 of money.
Residency: You have to be resident in the province you are elected. In Quebec only: There are electoral
divisions that correspond to the 24 electoral divisions of lower Canada. A person from Qc is a
representative of a particular geographical space, so you either have to be a resident of the province or
of that division.
-If for two consecutive parliamentary meetings you are absent, you can be kicked out of the senate.
-S.26: you can add senators. GG can appoint 4 or 8 new senators equally represented across divisions. So
if legislation does not pass more senators can be added to try to pass legislation, although this becomes
-Speaker of the Senate is appointed by GG, not the Senate. The PM can appoint a minority Senator to be
the speaker, who tends to have control over the floor in the senate.
-1982: 7/50 or exclusive power of parliament?
-Supposed to represent regional voices.
-You need resolution from HOC and Senate, and you need to follow 7/50 rule. Meaning the idea has to
be supported by HOC, Senate and majority of provinces. With that, you can modify principle of
proportionate representation of the provinces, the powers of the senate and the method of selecting
senators, the number of members of which a province is able to be represented by in the senate, the
residence qualifications of senators, the extension of existing provinces into the territories, and the
establishment of new provinces. If you want to modify the existence of the Queen, GG and Lieutenant
Governor, the right to a province to a number of members in the HOC not less than the number of
senators that the province has, the use of French or English subjected to section 43, the composition of
the supreme court of Canada and lastly an amendment to that part of the constitution. For the last 5
you need unanimity, agreement from the GG after it has been approved by senate, HOC and each
legislative assembly in each province. To do a constitutional amendment related to some provinces (but
not all) for example the boundary of the province or use of French/English within the province, it has to
be made by the GG under resolution of senate, HOC and under the assembly of each province to which
the amendment applies. Constitutional Veto Act: 1996. Establishes 5 regions: Quebec, Ontario, BC, Atlantic region (2/3 + 50%),
western provinces (2/3+50%). Applies to changes in parliamentary institutions, the creation of a new
province, and to the division of powers.
-Underlying problem in regards to equal representation: Party Discipline
-Golden Age of Parliament: When members were free to vote how they'd like (no party discipline). By
the end of the 19th century the golden age was slipping away.
-MPs can influence the party to vote a certain way but when it comes time to vote they will most likely
vote with the party, whether or not that is what they truly support. They do this to maintain confidence
in confidence vote and to help move up the ladder.
Midterm: Up to and including the Senate
-Essay questions: To separate A's/B's/C's etc..
-Large questions which require you to pull from all material, mount an argument, answer a question
-1 of 2 essay questions is very simple. Although answer is not necessarily simple. (one 12 marks and one
-Definitions: 6 terms. Of these 6, there are some very easy. Some harder. (12 marks)
-Did you do the readings? (8 academi