In looking at the headlines related to senate reform I got a glimpse of the implications of this: it will further centralize power in the PMO.
Political winds come and go. Usually the Senate represents the previous government as we all know there is a lag in appointments for a government to regain the majority in the Senate and often when they do they lose it in the House. The Senate being out of step with political winds of change. This is in part what allows that chamber to provide the "sober second thought" as they do not represent the government. The Seneate is the closest thing we in Canada have to the French "cohabitation" where the executive and legislative branches in that country frequently are of different parties or the US where mid term elections rarely allow a party to control both houses for long.
Harper's proposals to limit terms to 8 years will increase the turnover in the Senate such that it will take much less time for a new government to take over that chamber. The fact that elections would be required is not relevant as the chamber would be subject to the same winds as the House. At the core of the Senate reform is an opportunity for each government to clean out the older government faster and have complete control in the PMO.
I say the PMO rather than the House because of course we have seen how little power resides in the House even in a minority situation. The governing party is totally controlled by the PMO, the opposition is captured by the political reality that they are not the most popular party and therefore cannot afford an election at every disagreement. This is what happens when you have an uncooperative government that turns everything in to a challenge. The only thing this does to weaken the PM is that while he is a virtual dictator as long as the public has him first in the polls, if he ever falls to second he will be out at the first opportunity the house has. There are of course many machinations that can be employed to manipulate public opinion and secrecy and deception are essential components but this is what we have: no more checks and balances on a PM-- the most popular party in the land (even without a majority) will have its leader a virtual dictator until the public changes its mind and chooses another dictator. That is how badly our political so-called democracy has fallen. We have now lost all checks on the PM: the senate, the House and the GG are all meaningless only public opinion in the polls will matter because nobody else will challenge it.
I understand that this can be seen as an argument to ban polls from our system since we are effectively maintaining government of dictators by opinion poll.