“Burn it down, Burn it down”
National Post Columnist Christie Blatchford is a regular contributor to newstalk1010. The quote forms part of the introduction to her segment on the Live Drive. The “it” portion refers to the senate.
It also echoes the disgust of a growing majority of Canadians. The answer to the title is yes, it can be changed. But it takes a constitutional amendment that requires unanimous agreement of all 10 provinces and 3 territories. So far Saskatchewan is the province to get on board with the idea.
There’s one problem with that. It’s the veto. Any province (s) with some combination of 75% of the population can veto it. As Canada’s most populous province Ontario has a veto on its own. Quebec, and Atlantic provinces would a veto if they agreed on it. Some combination of western provinces plus territories would have a veto. It makes unanimity more like herding cats. You can get a few to agree, but the rest are off chasing yarn or scheming.
You can’t just re-open the constitution to deal with the Senate alone. It means talking about the old hobby horse of Quebec Separatism, and attempting to get that province’s signature for a third time. It means talking about Residential schools, equality, and economic imbalance for First Nations. It would mean airing all the old grievances, and issues that have piled up in the last 33 years (since 1982).
It might be time to do it. Three decades have brought a lot of change to Canada. More immigrants make their homes here; we could use it to give them a voice. The country is part of a global community residential schools have ended, and Quebec separatism appears to be dying. The chance is here to address some of the wrongs. We could get something good out of something hideously awful.