Wall raises doubts about Senate elections

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall appears to be cooling to the idea of electing senators in the province.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall appears to be cooling to the idea of electing senators in the province.

Last year, Wall and his government passed the Senate Nominee Election Act, which would allow people to vote for nominees to the Senate. Under the plan, names selected by voters could be sent to the Privy Council in Ottawa for consideration.

When the legislation was first introduced, Justice Minister Don Morgan said Prime Minister Stephen Harper was committed to democratically elected senators.

However, so far only two elected senators have made it into the upper chamber of Parliament, both of them Albertans appointed by Conservative prime ministers.

Wall used to be a fan of letting people in their province choose their senators, but says these days, he's wondering if it's worth it.

"We can elect all of the senators from Alberta and Saskatchewan that we wanted, but if we're the only ones and Senate reform is never going to happen ... where are we?" he said.

Wall said reform would see Canada moving toward a Triple E Senate — which stands for elected, effective and with equal representation by provinces.

With the Saskatchewan law now in place, a Senate election could be held at the same time as the general provincial election in November, 2011. Wall hasn't ruled that out, but says if nothing else changes in the Senate, he's not sure he'll bother.

"Are we pushing a rope uphill here in Saskatchewan?" he said. "Maybe the time has come for everyone to realize, if [the Senate] can't be fixed, is it useful?"

Wall said he hasn't made a final decision yet, but noted that premiers may be better able to look after their province's interests better than the Senate anyway.