Methinks John Ivison has hit the nail right on its head with this:
If the Auditor-General’s report does suggest a systemic problem of corruption and abuse, who would bet against the Conservatives using the Senate as a classic wedge issue, pointing out that the Liberals are in favour of preserving the country’s most expensive eventide home as is.
One approach could be to appeal directly to Canadians to reform or abolish the Red Chamber, via a referendum at the time of the next election. Even provinces that oppose change would be obliged to take cognizance of their voters.
One Conservative told me he’d already discovered that the Referendum Act — which currently blocks plebiscites during an election writ period — would need to be amended if this course of action were taken. This suggests they’ve thought about it at least.
The last few days have been among the most messy and humbling of Mr. Harper’s time in office. But if he can tough it out, the Senate might cease being a millstone round his neck and could become a political lifeline.
If Harper runs against the Senate, through a referendum, and tables a host of other parliamentary reforms, where does that leave the Liberal Party of Canada?
Defending the Senate (which is opposed by the NDP and by Harper, if Ivison is right in his forecast), and behind the curve if our democratic deficits become the ballot question, as framed by Harper.
Time for the Liberal Party to dust off modified proportional representation, along with other parliamentary reforms along the lines of those now adopted in the UK parliament. For more on what our platform could contain, check here here here here here here here here here and here.