FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — There are now 22 vacancies in what Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. MacDonald, called the ‘Chamber of Sober Second Thought,’ better known as the ‘Senate.’
It remains the subject of reform debate with several issues at play, and the new Prime Minister has introduced a new one: gender equality.
In fact, Justin Trudeau could essentially engineer it right now, by filling all the vacancies with female appointments, raising the number of women in the 105 seat upper chamber to 52.
However, gender parity is only one of the many Red Chamber reform issues, a subject we addressed recently with local area Senator Richard Neufeld.
For those with short memories, the Supreme Court rejected the Senate reform proposals of the Harper government ruling Ottawa cannot act alone to reform the Senate, limit terms, or appoint only elected senators, and it must have the consent of seven of the ten provinces, with at least half, of the Countries’ population.
At the moment, Senators are appointed by the Governor-General — but on the advice of the Prime Minister — and they’re assigned on a regional basis.
There are 24 each appointed, for each of four so-called major regions, and they are the four Western Provinces, the three Maritime Provinces, Ontario, and Quebec.
The remainder go to Newfoundland/Labrador and the Territories, and the Senators can choose to serve until they reach age 75.