February 8, 2004
Canadian Briefs -- Nova Scotia Premier supports
electing senators for vacant positions
Halifax (AP) - Nova Scotia Premier John Hamm says he's prepared
to follow Alberta's lead in holding elections for vacant positions
in the Senate.
"What I can commit to is Senate reform," he told
provincial Conservative members as the party's annual general
meeting wrapped up in Halifax on Sunday.
"One of the ways we can do that is to follow the Alberta
The premier said Canadians are clamoring for more accountability
out of Ottawa and changes to the Senate process might be a partial
He proposes what amounts to an informal appointment process,
where voters in a province elect their senators and the prime
minister rubberstamps them without comment or interference.
In recent years, Alberta has held two elections to choose
senators, but former prime minister Jean Christine refused to
appoint the elected choices.
Hamm stopped short of calling for direct Senate elections, which
would require a constitutional amendment.
That's a debate many people in the country are not keen have,
Federal NDP leader Jack Layton dismissed Hamm's proposal as
trying to tinker with a system that's already broken.
"It's unelected, it's undemocratic and it becomes a
repository for political friends," he said. "Instead, what
we should have is proportional representation for the House of