MP REPORT: Falkland remains in riding

Conservative government pushing for reform of the Senate

I mentioned in a previous column that the number of members of Parliament in B.C. was to increase by six seats to reflect its population growth.

An Electoral Boundaries Commission was appointed to determine the new riding boundaries. On the initial revised riding map, Falkland, much of Sorrento, and Chase were removed from the Okanagan-Shuswap riding.

After many constituents in these areas appealed, the commission has announced that the riding of Okanagan-Shuswap will not have any boundary changes.

This leaves the Okanagan-Shuswap riding with a population of 121,000, or 15.5 per cent over the quota.

I believe this is manageable. Thank you to those that contributed in supporting this outcome.

In the next federal election in 2015, there will be 30 more seats in the House of Commons, six in B.C., six in Alberta, 15 in Ontario and three in Quebec.

This will increase the House from 308 members to 338 or about one member to every 100,000 citizens.

Your government has continued working on Senate reform and recently we announced the launch of a reference on Senate reform to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Our government believes that the Senate, in its unelected and unaccountable state, must change in order to reach its full potential as a democratic institution serving Canadians.

The Supreme Court of Canada will consider the constitutional amending procedure for Senate reform.

The questions will seek legal certainty on the constitutional amending procedure for term limits for senators, democratic selection of Senate nominees, net worth and property qualifications for senators and the option of abolishing the Senate.

Presently, a senator’s term is for 45 years or until they reach the age of 75, whichever comes first.

Your government believes this is unreasonable.

We also believe senators should be elected by citizens in their region and not appointed.

We believe senators should live in Canada during their term in office and that their primary residence should be in the region they represent.

As a number of provincial premiers have voiced their favour for the abolition of the Senate, we are seeking the constitutionality of this option.

The fundamental principle of a democracy is representation by population and those that represent the people should be elected by the people.

We will seek to enact these principles as we go forward.

Colin Mayes is the MP for the Okanagan-Shuswap.