The National Post editorial board has published concise reasons for senate reform--not Jack Layton's proposed abolition referendum, but in support of the Conservatives' bill S-8 which prompts the prime minister to appoint senators who were elected in a province.
As well, here is the best explanation of the need for keeping a senate I have ever heard.
"Second, abolishing the Senate would be a mistake from a governance perspective. The existence of two Houses of Parliament permits the exercise of checks and balances. This is particularly important in a federal state such as Canada, where Ottawa must bridge the differences between 10 provinces and three territories of varying sizes, disparities in wealth and resources, and cultural divides involving two official linguistic groups and a host of unofficial ones. A robust Senate also acts as a chamber of sober second thought. While some senators barely show up to vote in our current system, others are energetic and highly engaged in important public-policy debates. Several Senate committees produce valuable reports on subjects such as health care and the future of our military.
"It is for such reasons that only a handful of Parliamentary democracies around the world have abolished their second chamber. Most, such as Australia, have instead opted for reform — using elections rather than direct appointments. Some nations, such as India, Britain and Ireland, have a mix of elected and non-elected senators.
"Instead of abolishing the Canadian Senate, we should reform it according to the well-known “Triple-E” mantra — making it equal in its regional distribution, elected in its membership, and effective in its legislative role."