A Conservative MP says New Brunswick's newest senator should be the last one ever to be appointed to the upper chamber and is calling on Premier David Alward to move up the planned date for the province's Senate election.
The Alward government has already passed legislative amendments that will allow for Senate elections in the future, but the votes are not slated to be held until 2016.
The Senate election is planned to come after two more senators are due to be replaced by unelected representatives.
New Brunswick Southwest Conservative MP John Williamson said Alward should schedule the Senate vote for the same day as the 2014 provincial election.
"I worry that if we wait until 2016, we're going to miss an opportunity, when the next Senate vacancy after that won't be until 2020, and that's an awfully long time," Williamson said.
The Alward government is consulting New Brunswickers on how the Senate election vote would work and the 2016 date is not final.
The 2016 Senate election is timed to coincide with the next round of municipal elections.
When Alward introduced a legislative amendment in June that would allow for the Senate elections, he called it an "historic" moment as New Brunswick is the only province in eastern Canada to allow for Senate elections.
Alberta is the only province that has held Senate elections.
Saskatchewan has passed a law to allow for Senate elections. However, the Saskatchewan government did not put senators on the ballot last November because Ottawa would not offer any financial help to cover the costs.
Alward said in June he would consider holding a Senate election earlier if Ottawa would help defray some of the costs.
The New Brunswick law sets out a framework where New Brunswick voters would create a list of Senate nominees that would be sent to Ottawa for consideration whenever a vacancy opened up.
New Brunswick has 10 seats in the Senate.
Keeping costs down
Williamson said he agrees with Alward that holding the Senate election the same day as another vote keeps the cost down.
The federal MP said he believes the 2014 provincial election date is still the best option.
"Perhaps they don't want Senate elections to conflict with provincial elections, but I tend to think because the Senate is there to represent the regions, provincial elections are the ideal time to elect senators," Williamson said.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed Charlo lawyer Paul McIntyre to the Senate on Friday.
New Brunswick's newest appointed senator didn't have a lot to say about Senate elections.
Hours after being appointed on Friday, he said his top priority is the economy.
"The secondary priority in the context of today's announcement is the government's actions to reform the Senate," said McIntyre, who ran unsuccessfully for the provincial Progressive Conservatives in 1987 and 2003.