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P.E.I. senator calls on Ottawa to act on vacancies in upper chamber

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — With pressing points such because the potato ban to debate, P.E.I.’s longest-serving senator says it’s necessary to have all arms on deck within the higher chamber.

Percy Downe advised SaltWire Community on March 21 the retirement final week of Sen. Diane Griffin leaves the province considerably short-handed.

“Simply final week we had been all in a gathering concerning the potato wart with CFIA officers,” Downe stated in a phone interview from Ottawa, referring to the Canadian Meals Inspection Company inserting a commerce ban on P.E.I. potatoes final fall following the invention of potato wart in two farmers’ fields.

Sen. Percy Downe - Contributed
Sen. Percy Downe – Contributed

Griffin’s closing official day within the Senate was March 17, the day earlier than her seventy fifth birthday, the obligatory age for retirement.

Her absence on prime of Mike Duffy’s retirement in 2021 leaves P.E.I. with two vacancies within the Senate.

“There are definitely sufficient points developing frequently to deal with, in order that’s why it’s necessary to get these vacancies stuffed,” Downe stated.

Senators are appointed by the Governor Basic of Canada based mostly on suggestions from the prime minister.

Higher chamber

Following is a have a look at P.E.I.’s Senate standing:

Don Desserud, a political science professor at UPEI, stated there was little consistency over the appointment of senators since Stephen Harper took over as prime minister in 2006.

Desserud stated Harper opposed the appointment of senators, favouring an elected Senate.

“Trudeau (then again) doesn’t see the Senate as a patronage physique, which is a constructive step ahead,” Desserud stated, referring to present Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “However, as a consequence, he doesn’t have any urgency. This isn’t acceptable … two seats are vacant and that isn’t useful in any respect.”

UPEI political science professor Don Desserud says the federal government needs to take a more urgent approach to appointing senators. - Dave Stewart • The Guardian
UPEI political science professor Don Desserud says the federal authorities must take a extra pressing strategy to appointing senators. – Dave Stewart • The Guardian

Desserud added that if one other province had 50 per cent of their Senate seats vacant there could be an outcry.

“It isn’t that the Senate doesn’t play a helpful position. We have now had and can proceed to have hard-working senators. Whenever you’re a small province, you want each hand on deck, each voice you will get. These are necessary folks for us and to go away their vacancies this lengthy? I don’t suppose it’s malicious. … There’s a course of in place. They only merely want the go forward to get going and the names will come ahead.”

Downe stated P.E.I.’s 4 senators are an necessary complement to the 4 MPs.

“We have now eight voices, and it’s necessary they be stuffed as a lot as attainable so folks can divvy up the work and get happening it.”

Downe additionally praised Griffin who, regardless of the retirement, was nonetheless attending some committee conferences on March 21 in an try to assist with the workload.

Sen. Diane Griffin's retirement from the Senate last week leaves P.E.I. with two vacancies. - Contributed
Sen. Diane Griffin’s retirement from the Senate final week leaves P.E.I. with two vacancies. – Contributed

SaltWire Community additionally spoke briefly with Griffin on March 21, however she was heading into a gathering and never instantly out there for an interview.

The privy council workplace in Ottawa advised SaltWire Community on March 21 that work continues on establishing an impartial advisory board for Senate appointments for P.E.I. and different jurisdictions. Provinces and territories have had the chance to take part by recommending people from their jurisdictions to serve on the board.

Appointments to the advisory board shall be made and introduced sooner or later. As soon as the board is established, they’ll resolve when to start out reviewing purposes, and updates shall be posted on their web site, the privy council workplace stated.

Dave Stewart is a reporter with the SaltWire Community in Prince Edward Island.


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