04/17/2014 12:00 EDT | Updated 06/17/2014 05:59 EDT

Supreme Court to decide on Senate questions April 25

The Supreme Court of Canada will give a decision on whether the government has the power to unilaterally make changes to the Senate next Friday, April 25.

The government asked a series of questions of the court about whether the Senate can be reformed without having to seek a constitutional amendment that would involve the consent of most, if not all, of the provinces.

One question deals with the government's ability to set fixed terms for senators of eight, nine or 10 years, or the life of two or three Parliaments. Currently, senators can stay on the job until they reach age 75.

The government has also asked if it can set up a framework so that senators are appointed only after they have won elections in their respective provinces.

Most importantly, perhaps, the government wants to know how the Senate could be abolished. It doesn't ask if it could get rid of the Red Chamber unilaterally, but what kind of constitutional bars it has to meet.

The question is whether a constitutional amending formula that requires only the consent of seven provinces representing half the population would be sufficient, or whether all the provinces would have to agree to eliminate the Senate.