Senator says she won't talk more about Sask. residency
Although questions about her residency linger, Saskatchewan Senator Pamela Wallin says she's done talking about where she lives.
Wallin's place of residence became an issue late last year after Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed the Saskatchewan-born former broadcaster to the Senate on Dec. 22.
A Regina-based political scientist raised questions about whether Wallin, who is from Wadena, Sask., met the residency requirement to be a senator for the province.
Through a spokesperson, Wallin recently declined two requests from CBC News to answer any questions about the topic.
"Please note that Senator Wallin will be making no further comment on this issue," executive assistant Shelley Clark said in an email. "The Senate Speaker and Prime Minister's Office are satisfied that all requirements have been met."
Last week, CBC News also emailed Senate Speaker Noel Kinsella about Wallin, requesting more information, but his office didn't reply.
Wallin, who was sworn in to the Senate on Jan. 26, has often spoken of her visits to Wadena and says she owns property there, thus satisfying the residency requirement.
However, in December, political scientist Howard Leeson said he was skeptical about that.
Wallin, a former CBC and CTV broadcaster who lives in New York and Toronto, has not lived in Saskatchewan for decades, Leeson noted.
Although the definition of residency isn't spelled out in the Constitution, it typically means things like being able to vote, qualifying for a health card and filing tax returns in the province, he said.
Simply owning property and visiting Wadena once a month wouldn't seem to fit the bill, although it's up to the Senate itself to make that determination, Leeson said.
Leeson said he wrote to the Senate speaker more than a month ago seeking clarification, but hasn't received an answer.
"I've had no substantive reply at all," said Leeson, a researcher with the Canadian Plains Research Center and a former head of the University of Regina's political science department.
Senators are full members of Parliament whose salaries are paid for by taxpayers, so it's not unreasonable to ask about their basic qualifications, he said.
Leeson noted that for Wallin to meet the residency requirement, she wouldn't necessarily have to move to Saskatchewan.
Under the Constitution, being a full-time Ottawa resident would meet the requirement for a Saskatchewan senator, he said.