P.E.I. now has four independent senators, following a surprise announcement Wednesday in Ottawa by federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.
Trudeau’s announcement, denouncing the senate, took both Liberal senators and political insiders by surprise.
Trudeau said the senate, through partisanship, has become an institution that poorly serves the interests of Canadians.
He said that is why the Liberal caucus will only include elected members of Parliament, and not senators. This means the 32 current Liberal senators are now independent of the Liberal caucus.
Trudeau is also asking Prime Minister Stephen Harper to change the way appointments are made to the upper chamber to ensure independence.
P.E.I. had three Liberal senators: Catherine Callbeck, Libby Hubley and Percy Downe.
“There was no leaks, which is strange in Ottawa. I’m a member of the Liberal party, I’ll continue to be a member of the Liberal party because I represent, personally, the values of the Liberals and those are the values I hold and I’ll continue to hold. So when I review legislation it will be through Liberal values but not as a member of the Liberal caucus,” Downe said.
Downe said he will continue important work in the senate reviewing legislation for P.E.I. residents and all Canadians.
P.E.I. already had independent senator — Mike Duffy — who was kicked out of the Conservative caucus last year.