Alberta's senators-in-waiting call for election
Alberta's three senators-in-waiting are demanding Premier Ed Stelmach change his mind and hold new elections for their positions this fall.
Last month, Stelmach announced Betty Unger, Cliff Breitkreuz and Link Byfield will continue to be Alberta's elected nominees to the Senate until Dec. 2, 2013. Their six-year terms were to expire this December.
Stelmach said he felt it would be better to wait before holding new Senate elections because there are details playing out that could have other provinces holding similar elections soon. Unger, Breitkreuz and Byfield said in a letter Monday that was the wrong approach.
Senate elections should be held this fall when Albertans go to the polls in municipal elections, Byfield told CBC News.
"The three of us discussed it and we all agreed that they should call an election," he said.
"Now, we haven't sent a formal letter to the premier. We may, but I think the important thing is we say so publicly in our own words and so we've done that."
Byfield said they will reluctantly accept the three-year extensions to their terms. Alberta needs to have people in these positions for when there are openings to the Upper Chamber, he said.
Alberta has held three votes to fill senate seats since 1998. The last one, conducted at the same time as the provincial election in 2004, cost almost $3 million.
Under the current system, the prime minister selects senators without any public input. His choice is then appointed by the Governor General.
A Senate reform bill, introduced in 2006, proposes voters elect candidates from which the prime minister would make his selections.
Alberta and B.C. already hold Senate elections but they're not binding.