The Supreme Court of Canada has rejected the Prime Minister’s Senate reform plan.
The top court says Stephen Harper’s plans to impose terms limits on senators and to create a election process for choosing nominees can’t be done by the federal government alone.
It says the reforms would require constitutional amendments approved by at least seven provinces representing 50 per cent of the population, a process fraught with political landmines which Harper had hoped to avoid.
Harper has threatened to abolish the Senate if his reform plans are stymied.
But the Supreme Court has set an even higher constitutional hurdle to get rid of the upper house altogether, saying unanimous consent of all 10 provinces would be needed.
The last time the high court considered, and ultimately ejected, Senate reform proposals was in 1980, before the Canadian Constitution Act of 1982 was patriated and set out new rules for fundamental constitutional change.
(The Canadian Press)