Nunavut senator lines up Iqaluit home
Newly appointed Nunavut Senator Dennis Patterson says he now has a home in Iqaluit, as Prime Minister Stephen Harper faced questions about why he chose a senator who hasn't lived in the territory for years.
Harper appointed Patterson, who was premier of the Northwest Territories from 1987 to 1991, as the Conservative senator for Nunavut last week.
Patterson, 60, had lived in the North before and during his 16-year career in the territorial legislature, in which he was active in the creation of Nunavut as a separate territory in 1999.
While Patterson lived in the North for a long time, however, he has been located in Vancouver in recent years.
His appointment raised questions by Nunavummiut who pointed out that Patterson does not live in the province or territory that he would represent — one of five eligibility requirements set by Parliament for Senate nominees.
Patterson is visiting Iqaluit this week, and told CBC News Thursday morning that he will be living there now.
"I can tell you that I've now got a place to live in Iqaluit year-round," he said in an interview.
"I'm really looking forward to spending a lot more time here and throughout Nunavut, which is the region I represent in the Senate."
In addition to living in the province or territory in question, Senate nominees must also own $4,000 of equity in land in the province or territory in question.
Patterson does own property in Iqaluit, which is currently leased out.
The parliamentary criteria also require nominees to be Canadian citizens, be at least 30 years old, and have a personal net worth of at least $4,000.
Patterson said he will be sworn in on Sept. 15, and he has agreed to serve an eight-year term.
It's not the first time a person has been appointed as a senator while living outside the jurisdiction they represent.
For example, former broadcaster Pamela Wallin now represents Saskatchewan in the Senate, even though she hasn't lived in the province for more than 35 years.