The Governor General is declining to wade into the controversy over Senate residency requirements, rebuffing a series of questions posed by NDP MP Charlie Angus about whether the current appointment process meets constitutional obligations.
In a letter addressed to Gov. Gen. David Johnston, Angus had asked for clarification about the constitutional requirement for senators to reside in the province they represent. Angus had asked for a definition of constitutional residency, whether Johnston's office asked for legal advice on the residency question and what role Johnston's office plays in ensuring nominated senators are constitutionally eligible.
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But Angus received just a brief response from Rideau Hall.
"I would like to inform you that the Governor General has no role in the Senate selection process," wrote Patricia Jaton, a spokeswoman from the office of the secretary to the governor general. "I appreciate your understanding in this matter."
The Constitution states a senator must own $4,000 worth of property in the province he or she represents. As well, it says senators "shall be resident in the province" for which they are appointed. But, as Angus notes in his letter, questions have been raised about whether a number of senators, including suspended Senator Mike Duffy, met that requirement.