They have voted 50-33 to not insist on their amendments to the budget implementation bill, which would have deleted a provision allowing the government to hike the federal excise tax on wine, beer and alcohol every year by the rate of inflation.
But at the same time, they’ve sent a message back to the House of Commons, reminding MPs that the Senate is constitutionally entitled to amend any legislation “whatever its nature or source.”
Senators were incensed Wednesday after the government summarily and swiftly rejected their amendments, sending a message back to the upper house that the changes “infringe upon the rights and privileges” of the Commons.
That message, passed unanimously by the Commons, amounted to an assertion that only the elected chamber of Parliament has the right to make decisions on budgetary matters and that the unelected Senate had no business trying to rewrite the budget.
Senators countered that the Constitution prohibits the appointed upper house from initiating a money bill, but does not stop it from amending – or even defeating – one.