Wednesday, September 25, 2013

No one seems to have noticed, but BC has been down a Senator since November 6th 2012

Since Gerry St. Germain reached mandatory retirement on November 6th of last year BC has only had five Senators and not the six the constitution mandates for BC.   Three of the senate vacancies that have occurred after Gerry St. Germain have already been replaced.   Two in Alberta and one in Ontario

Stephen Harper seems to act fastest when appointing people elected to sit in the Senate

  • Tommy Banks of Alberta retired on December 17th 2011 and was replaced on Janaury 6th 2012 by Betty Unger
  • Joyce Fariburn from Alberta resigned on January 18th 2013 and was replaced on January 25th by Doug Black
  • Bert Brown from Alberta retired on March 22nd 2013 and was replaced on March 25th by Scott Tannas

Not being elected does not mean Harper always moves slowly.  In the case of Frank Mahovlich, he retired on January 10th 2013 and was replaced on January 25th by either Lynn Beyak or Victor Oh.  The second vacancy in Ontario has been around since September 17th 2012 when Vivienne Poy resigned.

Other than Alberta, most of the rest of provinces in Canada do not seem to have any push to elect their senators.   In BC the provincial government has brought forward bills to elect senators but has not passed the law so far.   Is the prime minister waiting on BC to pass the law and hold a senate election?   The current vacancy is the last one will May of 2018 unless someone dies or resigns early.

I can not find another example of a vacancy from one province being left vacant for so long when others are being filled.   Though in the first term of the Conservatives, Harper only filled two of the 16 vacancies.   This large number of vacancies were filled on January 2nd 2009.   A couple of these seats had been sitting empty since April of 2006, or almost 32 months later.   I think his hope is that the provinces would begin to elect their Senators and when there was no movement towards this he filled the vacancies after his second election win.

Does it matter if BC has another Senator or not?  Realistically no because the Senate is not a useful governing body for 21st century Canada.  I am just interested because this one vacancy is not being filled quickly when others are.

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