Premier Ed Stelmach announced today that Alberta will not hold a new round of Senate nominee elections, and will instead extend the terms for the province's three remaining senators-in-waiting; Betty Unger, Cliff Breitkreuz, and Link Byfield who were elected to 6 year terms. Those those six-year terms expire in November and the provincial government has already moved to have new senators-in-waiting appointed, passing a bill extending to 2016 the expiry date of legislation governing senatorial elections in Alberta. This all coming just two days after the federal Conservative government introduced legislation urging the provinces to follow Alberta’s lead and hold Senate nominee elections. ( Update: the actual legislation passed in May extended the term to 3 years and not 6 as was stated at the time of writing)
I have mixed thoughts on this.
First, these Senators in waiting (SiW) were elected for 6 year terms; that is what we voted for and now the Premier wants to change the rules of the game. They were not elected for life, although if appointed to the Senate that WAS what would have happened, which is not really fair to all of us who did vote in the election and for those out there that may want to run for the positions. Let these 3 run again for another 6 year 'term' if this is a problem. (btw Unger and Byfield have said that they'll likely run again in any election)