Office of the Minister of State (Democratic Reform)

Office of the Minister of State (Democratic Reform)

March 06, 2012 17:22 ET

Harper Government Welcomes British Columbia's Senate Election Act

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 6, 2012) - The Honourable Tim Uppal, Minister of State (Democratic Reform), and the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages and Minister responsible for British Columbia, today welcomed the introduction of the Senate Election Act into the legislature of British Columbia.

"The Harper Government welcomes British Columbia's initiative towards a more effective and democratic Canadian Senate," said Tim Uppal, federal Minister of State for Democratic Reform. "The Senate's effectiveness and legitimacy suffers because all but two senators lack a 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 a one time nine-year non-renewable term.

"Our government remains committed to strengthening our democratic institutions so that Canadians can be better represented by their government," said Minister Moore. "This announcement today means that British Columbians will have real input into choosing the people who represent our province in the Senate. This is good news for democracy and good news for our province."

"Requiring the provincial government to consult with British Columbians on who should represent them can only be described as the right thing to do and I fully support this effort in principle," added Minister Uppal.

Alberta has held Senate nominee selection processes since 1989, resulting in three Senate appointments including sitting senators Bert Brown and Betty Unger, the first female senator appointed following a democratic process. Saskatchewan and New Brunswick have made positive steps toward similar consultation processes.

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