Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government has asked the Supreme Court of Canada to advise whether it can proceed unilaterally to impose term limits on senators and create a process for electing them.
The government contends that some such reforms can be imposed by the central government, citing the imposition of a retirement age for senators in 1965. However, the government’s question also considers the question of possible abolition of the senate. Here the question is whether unanimous consent of the provinces would be required, or whether the “750 formula” must be adhered to. The latter means seven provinces, accounting for half the national population.