06/22/2015 18:33 EDT | Updated 06/22/2016 01:12 EDT

Contentious Reform Act lives on as Senate votes to reject proposed amendment

OTTAWA - A Conservative member of Parliament's controversial effort to rebalance power between MPs and party leaders has survived a challenge in the Senate — for now.Michael Chong's Reform Act is designed to give MPs in a party caucus the power to trigger a leadership review, and to subsequently vote to oust their leader.Two Conservative senators, David Wells backed by Denise Batters, introduced an amendment last week that would have neutered that specific part of the private member's bill.That amendment was rejected in the upper chamber Monday by a vote of 46-14.Passing the amendment would have effectively killed the bill, since it would have forced it back to the House of Commons, which rose last week in advance of an anticipated October election."I'm encouraged that the amendment was defeated; the amendment would have killed the bill," Chong said after that initial vote."I saw the vote on the amendment as a proxy vote on the main bill. And so we just need to have a final vote on the bill."The bill was passed with the support of all parties in the House of Commons but has been getting a rough ride in the Senate, which still has to vote on whether to give it final approval.The senators were preparing to vote on whether or not to adjourn debate on the bill until Tuesday — a development that concerned Chong, who fears they're trying to run out the clock on a controversial piece of legislation."We're down to the 11th hour. There's just a day or two left in the Senate's sitting schedule," he said."This bill is a democratic reform bill that was overwhelmingly passed by the people's representatives. I think the Senate needs to respect the democratic wishes of Canadians and pass the bill."