Government Senate

Create a new, non-partisan, merit-based process to advise the Prime Minister on Senate appointments.

Liberal Platform Page 29 October 5, 2015
Jan 2016

Mandate of the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments

Privy Council Office January 19, 2016

The Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments ("Advisory Board") is an independent and non-partisan body whose mandate is to provide non-binding merit-based recommendations to the Prime Minister on Senate nominations.

This promise is achieved insofar as its original wording is concerned. An important caveat to mention is that the Senate appointment shortlist created by this new committee remains non-binding, meaning the Prime Minister can still ultimately decide who gets appointed to the Senate. That still fulfills the original promise, which talks about a process to "advise" the PM on nominations, yet even though this promise is achieved, in essence one could argue this is not a huge change to the way Senate appointments are made. That being said, let us remind ourselves that a thorough reform of the Senate would require reopening the Constitution along with the consent of all the provinces. As a reminder, both the Conservatives and the NDP were in favour of abolishing the Senate outright during the 2015 election, but not the Liberals.

Dec 2015

Government Announces Immediate Senate Reform

Government News Release December 03, 2015

In order to bring real change to the Senate, the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Democratic Institutions, with the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, announced today the establishment of a new, non-partisan, merit-based process to advise on Senate appointments.

The new appointments process will be implemented in two phases. In the transitional phase, five appointments will be made early in 2016 to immediately reduce partisanship in the Senate and improve the representation of the provinces with the most vacancies (i.e., Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec). A permanent process will then be implemented with further enhancements to replenish the remaining vacancies, and will include an application process open to all Canadians.