TO MANY northwestern B.C. residents, reform of the Canadian Senate sits very low, if at all, on the ‘to do’ lists occupying everyday existence.
If it creeps into consciousness at all the Senate is regarded as an antiquated institution where those most loyal to the party in power are rewarded with a very comfortable salary ($142,400 to start) for a position a Senator must vacate by the age of 75. Nice work if you can get it.
But the new federal Liberal government wants to change the image and overall purpose of the Senate by making appointments on merit instead of being rewards for political service.
That’s where northwestern B.C. comes in. At the moment there are 23 Senate vacancies among its 105 seats. One of those vacancies is in B.C. which is entitled to six Senates. Of those five seats, one of those is occupied by former provincial Liberal cabinet minister Richard Neufeld from northeastern B.C., one by Nancy Green Raine from the southern interior and three by Lower Mainland residents.
It stands to reason that the one B.C. vacancy could quite rightly be filled by a northwestern B.C. resident.
This is a large region with diverse but also common interests where the job of explaining who we are and advocating for its issues now falls to just one Member of Parliament.
Having a second ‘go to’ person in Ottawa to carve through the governmental clutter is more than justified.