While the Senate may be a headache for the government, the Governor General may provide the solution to the third party's perceived appointments problem. Unfortunately, everyone seems to have written off Justin Trudeau's proposed -- albeit vague -- appointments scheme. Writing about the Supreme Court of Canada’s Senate reference, Globe and Mail columnist Lawrence Martin argues that:
The Trudeau plan, should he come to power, would see him appoint a special non-partisan panel to forward nominations for the Senate. That creates problems on its own. How do you find a credible non-partisan panel?
The Supreme Court decision adds more woes. As NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair’s office has pointed out, clauses 64 and 65 of the court’s decision appear to require that any new consultative process for Senate selection obtain provincial agreement and constitutional change. If such is the case, Mr. Trudeau has a Stephen Harper-like dilemma – only worse, because he’s already committed to his reform.
There seems to be a broad consensus in the media, and particularly in Parliament, that the Trudeau plan is entirely unworkable and, as Martin claims, the Court’s decision makes it even more improbable. The contrary is actually true. If anything, the Court’s ruling has cleared the way for Trudeau by clearly showing what will not be permissible – elections – and, in doing so, has left the realm of possibility considerably open. I argue that Trudeau’s critics are deliberately misreading the ruling. The Court’s ruling is much more nuanced and leaves the executive with consider leeway. Finally, contrary to both the NDP and the Conservatives, there is a viable model that can be readily adapted and, surprising, it is a model established by the Conservatives and subsequently demonstrated to work quite well.