Notionally, an elected Senate providing equal representation to all provinces and with a constitutionally designated subordination to the Commons could be a useful addition to the system. It simply isn't possible to achieve. Abolition is.
The Queen and the Senate currently limit their inherent offensiveness through the convention by which they do not exercise the full scope of their powers and thus defer to the Commons. What M. Spector proposes is that at least one of these fundamentally anti-democratic institutions actually exercise the full scope of those powers. No true democrat would ever argue such a position.
Fidel rightly notes that the Senate has never actually blocked a damned thing - and Spector's repeated reference to the abortion bill is a distortion - had the Commons insisted, the Senate would have deferred.
Mycroft is correct that man western Conservatives long for an elected Senate. However, they would almost universally prefer abolition to the status quo. I believe an accomplishable reform (abolition) can be sold.
Someone else has argued for selling the idea in terms of a referendum on Senate abolition. In a two choice question (status quo v abolition) I can't see how the slogan "105 fewer politicians" could be a loser. A significant vote for abolition would make it untenable for any government to block the amendment as it worked its way through.
I think as well, Mycroft, that there is room to argue the relative merits of public subsidies for political parties, but I fail to see anything particularly progressive about it either. It is only progressive when compared to the previous system of allowing the wealthy free reign to buy politicians and parties.
In a system where the maximum donation is limited (even without the reduction in limits I proposed), the capacity to buy political favour is seriously reduced. With a even lower maximum, the wealth advantage to the Conservatives is reduced (though not eliminated). From where I stand, it makes sense both in principle and pragmatically.
At the end of the day, I think it is a winning proposition politically - even if we fail to accomplish the reforms.