Returning Accountability to the Senate

Bill 13, the Alberta Senate Election Act, would reinstate Senate nominee elections to enable Albertans to choose who would best represent them in the Senate.

Returning accountability to the Senate

Premier Jason Kenney and Justice and Solicitor General Minister Doug Schweitzer announce Bill 13: The Alberta Senate Election Act.

Senate nominee elections would reflect the democratic will of Albertans and make senators directly accountable to Alberta voters to defend our province’s interests.

“We are introducing the Alberta Senate Election Act to enable Albertans to choose the people they think would best represent them in the Upper Chamber. Senators who are elected by Albertans have shown that they effectively stand up for Alberta’s economy, jobs and families. They set a strong example to other provinces of the benefits of having effective voices with the moral legitimacy of having been elected.” Jason Kenney, Premier

In the four elections between 1989 and 2012 held under the previous Senate elections law, which expired in 2016, Alberta voters nominated 10 candidates for Senate appointments. Of those, five were ultimately appointed, including current senators Doug Black and Scott Tannas, who recently stood up for Alberta’s economy and for resource jobs in Canada by advocating for changes to Bill C-69, the ‘No More Pipelines Bill’ and the prejudicial Bill C-48.

“Elected senators are accountable to Albertans and have greater moral legitimacy to effectively speak on our behalf because they receive a mandate from voters. When Albertans have had a say in who would best represent them in the Senate, they have chosen people of the highest calibre who have been effective voices for Alberta’s interests.” Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General

“Alberta Senate nominee elections had played an important role in allowing Albertans to decide who will be their voice at the federal Parliament. These elections bestowed significant moral and political legitimacy to Alberta’s senatorial candidates. I was honoured to have won in the 2012 Alberta Senate nominee elections, and am proud to continue to serve alongside my fellow Albertan colleague, the Honourable Scott Tannas. The renewal of the Senatorial Selection Act is an important step forward for reasserting Alberta’s role as a leader in the democratization of the Canadian Senate.”Sen. Doug Black

“Since 1989, Alberta voters have gone to the polls to nominate their choice for who should represent them in Canada’s Senate. I am proud to be one of five elected candidates to have been appointed as a senator from Alberta. I am pleased to see the Government of Alberta is reviving the Senatorial Selection Act after the previous government refused to renew it. Albertans have a proud tradition of electing candidates for the Senate, and should continue to do so.”Sen. Scott Tannas

“As a proud Albertan and retired member of the Senate of Canada, I am pleased to see the introduction of Bill 13: The Alberta Senate Election Act. This act would revive Alberta’s proud history of leading and strengthening our shared Canadian democratic traditions. I have always firmly believed that a strong, democratic Senate is in the interest of provinces like Alberta that do not have adequate weight in the House of Commons but important regional interests. Under the leadership of Premier Jason Kenney, I am confident that this government will restore Alberta’s rightful voice and standing in federal politics.”Betty Unger, former senator

“In 2012, over 300,000 Alberta voters marked my name on their Senate election ballot. Despite that, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau refused to respect the wishes of Albertans, and instead appointed senators who voted against Alberta’s interests and in favour of the so-called ‘No More Pipelines Act,’ Bill C-69. It’s time for Albertans to once again have their say on who they want to see representing them in Ottawa.”Mike Shaikh, senate nominee

Quick facts

  • Alberta has six representatives in the Senate.
  • In 2012, 1.3 million Albertans voted in a Senate nominee election, which was held in conjunction with the provincial election.
  • In general, the law would allow for voting for Senate nominees:
    • as part of provincial or municipal elections
    • as a stand-alone process
    • with a referendum
  • The next scheduled Alberta Senate vacancy will be in March 2021.
  • The Government of Alberta would provide names of elected nominees to the prime minister for consideration when filling Senate vacancies.
  • The previous Senate elections legislation expired in 2016.

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