A Means to Many Ends: Why Iterative Reform of the Senate is So Difficult

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Armitage, Blair Godfrey




Proposals for reforming the Canadian Senate abound. A majority focus on reforming one aspect or another, such as method of selection or term.

The Senate was designed for the most part in the 16 day period of the Quebec Conference 1864. It was used as a means to many ends: regional balance against representation by population, protection of sectional, linguistic and religious minorities, and to act as a check on the Executive. It was also designed to provide a complementary legislative body to the House of Commons that, while not threatening responsible government, would be capable of
augmenting the legislative process.

This thesis concludes that the essential elements of the Senate’s design – means of selection, tenure, qualifications and powers - are so intertwined with its essential characteristics, those of the federation and Canada’s Parliament as to make iterative reform an impossibility without significant unintended corollary effects.




Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Master of Arts: 

Thesis Degree Level: 


Thesis Degree Discipline: 

Political Science

Parent Collection: 

Theses and Dissertations

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