Office of the Minister of State (Democratic Reform)

Office of the Minister of State (Democratic Reform)

January 20, 2012 18:11 ET

Harper Government Welcomes Alberta's Senate Nominee Consultations

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 20, 2012) - Today, Alberta Premier Alison Redford announced that the province will hold Senate nominee consultations in conjunction with the next provincial election.

"The Harper Government welcomes Alberta's continued leadership on Senate reform," said Tim Uppal, Canada's Minister of State for Democratic Reform and Member of Parliament for Edmonton-Sherwood Park. "The Senate's effectiveness and legitimacy suffers because ninety-nine percent of senators have no democratic mandate from Canadians."

On June 21st, 2011 the Government of Canada introduced the Senate Reform Act. The Act encourages provinces to implement democratic processes to consult their citizens on Senate nominees. The Act also limits senators' terms from a maximum of forty-five years to one nine-year non-renewable term.

"Alberta leads the pack when it comes to giving ordinary Canadians real input into their Senate representatives," added Minister of State Uppal. "With the announcement today, Albertans have reaffirmed their leadership on this issue."

Alberta has held Senate nominee selection processes since 1989, resulting in three Senate appointments including sitting Senator Bert Brown and the first female elected senator, Betty Unger. British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and New Brunswick have made positive steps toward similar consultation processes. This is a reflection of a strong desire among Canadians for Senate modernization and democratization.

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