Majority Want Senate Reformed

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The latest Canadian Press-Harris/Decima survey asked about Senate reform

 

A majority of Canadians want to see the Senate reformed or abolished

One in three (32%) feel the Senate of Canada should be abolished. A further 32% feel the Senate should become an elected Chamber. Fewer than one in five (16%) feel the Senate should remain unelected, but with nine year term limits, while 7% feel the Senate should remain as is. In 2010, 27% of respondents felt the Senate should be abolished.

Residents of Quebec (41%), those over the age of 50 (42%), and NDP (38%) and BQ voters (51%) are most likely to prefer the Senate be abolished.  British Columbians (45%), those between the ages of 35 and 49 (37%), Conservatives (40%), and men (37%) are most likely to support making the Senate an elected Chamber.

Those under the age of 35 are most likely to say the Senate should remain unelected, but with term limits of 9 years for Senators. This group is also most likely to feel the Senate
should remain as is.

A majority of Canadians feel it would be worthwhile to amend the Constitution to set term limits for Senators, or to make it an elected Chamber.

Three in four respondents (76%) say it would definitely (43%) or probably (33%) worthwhile for the federal government to enter into negotiations with the provinces to amend the Constitution in order to set term limits for Senators. Less than one in five feel it would probably not (9%) or definitely not (8%) worthwhile to amend the Constitution to achieve this reform.

Seven in ten (69%) feel it would be definitely (37%) or probably (32%) worthwhile to amend the Constitution in order to change the Senate to an elected chamber. Almost one in four feel it would be probably not (12%) or definitely not (11%) worthwhile to amend the Constitution in order to make the Senate an elected Chamber.

Canadians are split on whether it’s worthwhile for the federal government to negotiate with the provinces to abolish the Senate. Nationally, 45% feel it’s definitely (26%) or probably (19%) worthwhile to amend the Constitution to abolish the Senate, while 23% feel it is probably not worthwhile, and 22% feel it is definitely not worthwhile.

Those in favour of an elected Senate also think it would be worthwhile to amend the Constitution to have term limits for Senators

Fully 89% of those whose preference is an elected Senate also think it would be worthwhile to amend the Constitution to set term limits for Senators. Unsurprisingly, among those whose preference is term limits, 86% feel it would be worthwhile to amend the Constitution to enact this change. Almost seven in ten (69%) who prefer the Senate be abolished feel it would be worthwhile to amend the Constitution to bring in term limits, while 83% of those who prefer the Senate remain as is feel it would be worthwhile.

Almost all of those who prefer an elected Chamber feel amending the Constitution to enact such a change is worthwhile.

Fully 94% of those who prefer the Senate become an elected Chamber feel it is worthwhile for the government to negotiate with the provinces to amend the Constitution to make such a change happen. Among those who prefer the Senate be abolished, 57% feel it would be worthwhile to amend the Constitution to make it an elected Chamber, as do 58% of those who prefer term limits, and 64% of those who prefer the Senate remains as is.

More than four and five who prefer abolition feel it would be worthwhile to amend the Constitution in order to achieve this reform

Fully 83% who prefer the Senate should be abolished feel it would be worthwhile for the government to negotiate with the provinces to amend the Constitution to do so. Three in ten (31%) who prefer an elected Chamber feel it’s worthwhile to amend the Constitution to
abolish the Senate, as do 28% of those who prefer term limits, and 30%
of those who prefer the Senate remain as is.

Each week, Harris/Decima interviews just over 1000 Canadians through teleVox, the company’s national telephone omnibus survey. The most recent data were gathered between February 7 and February 10, 2013 for just over 1,000 completes. A sample of the same size has a margin of error of 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.