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Canada Alberta votes to urge prime minister to save two vacant Senate seats for those nominated in October

03:25  16 june  2021
03:25  16 june  2021 Source:   edmontonjournal.com

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The Alberta legislature is calling for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to save the province’s two vacant Senate seats for the top two finishers in a non-binding October election.

a woman smiling for the camera: Erika Barootes has announced she is seeking a Senate seat for Alberta in the October election. © Provided by Edmonton Journal Erika Barootes has announced she is seeking a Senate seat for Alberta in the October election.

Premier Jason Kenney said the UCP government motion to “urge the prime minister to respect the democratic voices of Albertans” and commit to appointing the province’s nominees is not a symbolic political move.

“This is real,” said Kenney, who added that there is nothing keeping Trudeau from appointing those whose names have been put forward with a democratic mandate. The motion passed Tuesday afternoon in the legislature with a vote split along party lines.

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“How insulting would it be to this province if the prime minister, on the eve of a Senate election, were to by fiat impose senators on this province that never bothered to put their name on the ballot?” said Kenney , who has long insisted that senators hand-picked by voters are more likely to defend Alberta’s interests.

The province has pledged $10 million to help municipalities deal with the added cost of referendum questions and the Senate election on the ballot in the fall.

NDP Opposition finance critic Shannon Phillips called the proposal and debate an “academic exercise,” and a “constitutional book club” that distracted from issues like the future of coal mining, protecting water, education, rural health care, and creating jobs.

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“(The motion) is not what Albertans are worried about right now,” said Phillips. The Alberta NDP formally supports abolishing the Senate, and Leader Rachel Notley has questioned the point of legitimizing an unelected body in which Albertans are underrepresented.

The debate comes after former United Conservative Party president Erika Barootes announced Monday she’s running in the Alberta Senate election.

“I profoundly disagree with the voices that want to concede our constitutional representation in the upper house to someone handpicked by Ottawa. We can’t be complacent and settle for the status quo. Don’t let them tell you it can’t be done — that’s not the Alberta way,” Barootes said in a news release.

Barootes joined progressive political advocate and Senate abolitionist Duncan Kinney in the race, who has already announced his campaign and filed registration papers with Elections Alberta .

While senators are selected by the prime minister and Alberta cannot compel Trudeau to appoint preferred candidates, this fall will be the fifth such Senate nominee election held in the province. Between 1989 and 2012, 10 Alberta nominees were elected in the vote, with half of those ultimately appointed to the Senate.

In 2019, Kenney’s UCP revived the provincial nomination process with Bill 13, the Alberta Senate Election Act, after previous legislation lapsed in 2016.

lijohnson@postmedia.com

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usr: 3
This is interesting!