A Fully Realized Senate

The upper chamber is finally doing what it’s supposed to do

Senate reform never seemed deader than in 2014, when the Supreme Court of Canada told Parliament that almost any change to the upper house would be a substantial change, and that all substantial changes require constitutional amendments with broad or unanimous consent from the provinces.

Five years later, all the talk is of the new Senate.

Even before the 2014 ruling, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau had separated Liberal senators from the party’s parliamentary caucus. As prime minister, Trudeau began appointing non-aligned Canadians, distinguished more as high achievers and community builders than as party loyalists, to the chamber. Today the largest caucus in the home of “political prostitutes and broken-down politicians” (in the words of one 1915 commentator) is the non-partisan Independent Senators Group, and Maclean’s reports the place is “on the fast-track to next-level relevance.” All the...