J. Senate Approval

Author:Patrick J. Monahan - Byron Shaw

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Although sections 38, 41, 42, and 43 appear to require Senate approval, the Senate has the power only to delay rather than to block amendments enacted under these provisions. Section 47 provides that, if the Senate has failed to approve an amendment under any of these sections within 180 days of the adoption of an authorizing resolution by the House of Commons, the House of Commons may thereafter adopt the resolution a second time. Re-adoption by the House of Commons after this six-month waiting period renders Senate approval unnecessary.

In the fall of 1996, the House of Commons rejected changes that were proposed by the Senate to an amendment to Term 17 of the Newfoundland Terms of Union and re-enacted its original resolution.71While the Senate can be overridden with respect to amendments under sections 38, 41, 42, and 43, Senate approval is required for statutes enacted by Parliament alone under section 44.72Thus, although the Senate could be abolished entirely without its approval (pursuant to section 42(1)

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(b)), other constitutional changes to federal institutions that do not involve any of the matters identified in section 41 or 42 cannot be enacted over the objections of the Senate.

[71] The House of Commons adopted the original resolution authorizing the amendment on 3 June 1996. When the Senate proposed changes, the House re-adopted the original resolution on 4 December 1996. The Newfoundland House of Assembly had previously passed an identical resolution, and thus the...

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