Complexity and the Amending Formula

Kate Glover


Thinking boldly about Senate reform means no longer relying on claims about Canada’s constitutional amending formula as a crutch for stagnation. Despite rhetoric to the contrary, the
amending formula is not responsible for stalled progress on Senate reform. To be sure, the formula is intricate, detailed, and sustains multiple reasonable interpretations. It was difficult to entrench and requires widespread support to be changed; it calls on political actors to reach some measure of consensus in order to achieve certain constitutional reforms. However, the amending formula is neither impenetrable nor incomprehensible.  It is neither a Rubik’s cube nor an instruction manual. And, it should not be cast as the scapegoat for the effects of partisanship or failures of leadership in implementing reform.

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