Terry Mercer wants next Senate Speaker elected by peers

An independent Liberal senator is proposing a constitutional amendment that would let senators, like MPs, vote on who should be their Speaker. It's currently the prime minister who names the Senate Speaker.

Independent Liberal senator proposing change to let senators, rather than prime minister, choose Speaker

Senate Speaker Noel Kinsella is slated to retire at the end of November. Independent Liberal Senator Terry Mercer hopes to have future Senate speakers elected by senators, not named by the prime minister. (Canadian Press)

The Senate may never become an elected chamber, but there is an effort underway to at least bring some democracy to the appointed upper house.

Terry Mercer, an independent Liberal senator, is proposing a constitutional amendment to have an elected Senate Speaker who isn't appointed by the prime minister.

It's a timely proposal since the current Speaker, Conservative Senator Noel Kinsella, is slated to retire at the end of November.

Mercer says legal experts assure him his largely housekeeping proposal would need only the approval of the Senate and House of Commons.

M-P's have been voting by secret ballot for the Speaker of the Commons since 1986 and Mercer says it's time senators did the same.

Mercer introduced his amendment in June before Parliament broke for the summer.

He hopes the Senate will deal with his amendment quickly so the Commons can approve it in time to elect Kinsella's successor as Speaker.