VICTORIA – Today Chilliwack MLA John Les re-introduced a Private Member’s Bill to the Legislature. The proposed Senate Election Act would provide a legal framework for electing Senatorial nominees to represent B.C. in the Senate of Canada.
Why this matters:
- Many BC voters have called for the provincial government to create a framework for electing Senators.
- This legislation came about in response to the federal government’s stated plan to institute Senatorial term limits and solicit provincial consultation on appointments to the Senate of Canada.
- This act follows through on Premier Christy Clark’s commitment to open government.
“If passed, this Bill will modernize the Senate in a way that reflects the values of British Columbians, and will provide better representation for the entire province at the federal level. Allowing citizens to elect senators will help expand our democracy, and follows through on the Premier’s promise to create a more open government.”
-Chilliwack MLA John Les
“As the senior Senator for British Columbia, I am pleased that the provincial government is moving forward with legislation that will provide the people of our great province with the opportunity to elect their future Senators. For many years I have advocated for Senate elections and Senate reform in general. This legislation is a step in the right direction.”
– Senator Gerry St. Germain, P.C.
“I am absolutely thrilled with the (title of bill) introduced by the Government of British Columbia. This is further proof that BC is one of the most progressive provinces in Canada and is helping lead the way in reforming our Senate. British Columbia now joins Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick with legislation to elect Senators. This is an historic victory for British Columbians and for all Canadians as we move towards allowing them the right to choose who represents them in the Upper House.”
– Senator Bert Brown, P.C.
“Our Conservative government is committed to meaningful Senate reform, which includes allowing the provinces to bring forward legislation to elect Senators. I am pleased to see Chilliwack MLA John Les and the Government of British Columbia moving in that direction.”
– Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon MP Mark Strahl
- The act’s primary purpose is to set out the electoral process required to democratically elect Senatorial nominees, whose names will be submitted to the Government of Canada for appointment to the Senate of Canada.
- The act forms a three person panel charged with creating six new Senate electoral districts along four principles.
- The act requires the Chief Electoral Officer to find and approve a safe and secure method of allowing internet voting to be the primary method of voting for Senate nominees, and provides the possibility of mail-in ballots if an internet-based system can’t be found in time for the first elections.
- The act also allows for candidates to register as independents or as affiliates of a political party registered under the provincial Election Act.