Minister of Democratic Institutions Maryam Monsef and House leader Dominic LeBlanc today announced a five-member independent advisory board will be struck to make recommendations for “merit-based” candidates to sit in the Senate. The advisory panel will provide a non-binding short list of five nominees for each Senate vacancy. The Prime Minister will choose one of the five nominees to join the upper chamber.
The new process will be implemented in two phases, with the first “transitional” phase moving quickly to fill five vacancies early in the new year; two in Ontario, two in Manitoba and one in Quebec. The permanent process will see all 22 vacancies in the Senate filled by the end of 2016.
Monsef said the changes will not require any constitutional revisions and will ensure regional, gender and ethnic representation in the Senate. The advisory board will be formed this month and will consult with provinces, community and indigenous groups, business and labour organizations, arts councils and others.
The Conservative and New Democratic Parties criticized the plan for the lack of accountability of the new plan. They argue that not only are Senators not accountable to the Canadian public, now the panel that chooses them isn’t either.