Senate reform: slow progress

Meanwhile in Canada the Senate reform bill wades through the House of Commons. So far, it has had seven ‘days’ of second reading debate in the Commons since September 2011 though I should note that in contrast to the British House of Commons, it seems rarer that an entire evening session of five or so hours is given over to one bill.

Indeed two of these ‘days’ debates have had three or fewer speakers, and we’ve not had a debate on it since late February. The Conservatives stopped speaking to this bill after the second scheduled day of debate and only six have made speeches. Compare that to forty-two New Democrats and five Liberals. Now that we’re in budget season, we’re not likely to see the Senate reform bill back again for a few weeks at least.

Eventually – perhaps after another seven or more ‘days’ debate – it will be shipped off to a committee (maybe an ad-hoc legislative committee because none of the current ones seem relevant). In contrast to the British House of Commons, second reading doesn’t tend to conclude after one day, nor do constitutional bills don’t have to go through Committee of the Whole House.

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