Inside Politics

UPDATED: Can a senator be removed from office? Yes, in theory.

For a slightly longer, if not entirely illuminating answer to what has suddenly become a surprisingly frequently asked question -- let's turn the floor over to the Constitution Act

31. The Place of a Senator shall become vacant in any of the following Cases:

    (1) If for Two consecutive Sessions of the Parliament he fails to give his Attendance in the Senate;
    (2) If he takes an Oath or makes a Declaration or Acknowledgment of Allegiance, Obedience, or Adherence to a Foreign Power, or does an Act whereby he becomes a Subject or Citizen, or entitled to the Rights or Privileges of a Subject or Citizen, of a Foreign Power;
    (3) If he is adjudged Bankrupt or Insolvent, or applies for the Benefit of any Law relating to Insolvent Debtors, or becomes a public Defaulter;
    (4) If he is attainted of Treason or convicted of Felony or of any infamous Crime;
    (5) If he ceases to be qualified in respect of Property or of Residence; provided, that a Senator shall not be deemed to have ceased to be qualified in respect of Residence by reason only of his residing at the Seat of the Government of Canada while holding an Office under that Government requiring his Presence there.
And who shall decide if such a situation has arisen? Why, the senate itself, of course:

33. If any Question arises respecting the Qualification of a Senator or a Vacancy in the Senate the same shall be heard and determined by the Senate.

As far as I know, no Senate seat has ever been declared vacant against the wishes of its occupant, but I'm still checking. 

UPDATE: Helpful and erudite twitterversian Glenford Jameson points out that the Rules of the Senate lay out the procedure for ordering a leave of absence or suspension against a senator, including in cases in which a senator is charged with a criminal offence to be prosecuted by indictment, or, indeed, a conviction that results in any sentence other than discharge. 

Ultimately, however, a declaration of vacancy can only be decided by the Senate as per S 33, as cited above. 

Tags: blackberry jungle, constitution, senate watch, suddenly frequently asked questions

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