The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
Prime Minister of Canada
80 Wellington St.
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
Re: A senate seat to represent Vancouver Island
January 19, 2015
Dear Prime Minister Harper,
This open letter is a response to your December remark, that you’re not “getting a lot of calls from Canadians to name more Senators.”
If you decide to appoint just one Senator this year, out of 13 vacancies, please consider the special place that Vancouver Island played in Confederation.
Vancouver Island has 780,000 residents, and no representation in the Senate. One of six seats apportioned to BC is vacant and could redress this imbalance.
Vancouver Island’s history is rich, having an upper chamber while still a colony and being the first elected Parliamentary democracy in the west prior to Confederation. So too our size, Island culture and unique coastal attributes warrant a voice in our governance.
If the Senate is to balance regional representation in our country then it is only fair and reasonable that at least one Senator reside here and represent the interests and perspective of Vancouver Islanders.
We know the Constitution presently ties your hands in terms of what Senate seats are allocated to each region, and that your efforts for Senate reform were rejected by the Supreme Court last March. Our suggestion does not argue for or against a Senate, but does invite incremental legislative change that will not contravene Supreme Court opinions or the Constitution.
In the interest of good governance we would applaud any initiative to identify Vancouver Island candidates for the Senate, including a referendum in the upcoming federal election.
Mr. Prime Minister, as your plans address the Senate please consider Vancouver Island’s long and proud contribution to Confederation, and act to strengthen our partnership in this fair country.
Laurie Gourlay & Scott Akenhead
President and Director, VICCS
Vancouver Island & Coast Conservation Society, Box 333, Cedar BC, V9X 1W1; <www.viccs.vcn.ca>