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Canada government reintroduces Senate reform bills

[JURIST] Canada's ruling Conservative Party [party website] government Tuesday reintroduced two Senate [official website] reform bills that would abolish government-appointed senators and limit the number of terms a senator could serve. The first bill [C-56 text] would allow each province to vote to fill vacancies in the Senate. The federal prime minister would then rely on the results to appoint the preferred candidates. Only two provinces, Alberta and British Columbia, currently hold elections for senators and the results are purely advisory in nature. The second bill [S-4 text] would limit terms in the country's unelected Senate to eight years. Currently, senators appointed on a regional basis can retain their seats until the age of 75. The bills were first introduced during Parliament's last legislative session, when Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper urged [JURIST report] members of the Canadian Senate's Special Committee on Senate Reform [official website] to support the legislation.

Although the Conservative Party has threatened to constitutionally abolish the Senate if the bills do not pass, the bills were first introduced in the House of Commons [official website] with the hope that opposition party support would influence the Senate to approve the reforms. CBC News has more.

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