Alberta Senate nominee election, 2004

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The 3rd Alberta Senate nominee election was held on November 22, 2004, in conjunction with the Alberta general election, 2004. Alberta is the only Canadian province to elect nominees for the Senate of Canada.

Background[edit]

Both of Alberta's opposition parties, the Liberal Party and the NDP, boycotted the election in demonstration of their opposition to the process. As a result, the only candidates to contest the election were representatives of the right-of-centre Alberta Progressive Conservatives, Alberta Alliance Party and Social Credit parties, and a number of independents. After much pressure from the Liberal and NDP camps (who did not want their supporters to feel compelled to vote for a right-of-centre candidate), polling officers were instructed to advise voters on election day that they did not have to vote in the Senate election.

The candidate nominated by Social Credit did not obtain the 1500 signatures required to get on the ballot, and the party therefore was not represented in the election.

As of the date of the election, there were three vacant Alberta seats in the Senate of Canada, with another set to become vacant within six years. Voters could vote for up to four candidates, though many candidates encouraged their supporters to vote for only one, a legal option, to prevent the vote totals of their competitors from rising.

A total of 2,176,341 votes were cast (714,709 ballots).

Election day[edit]

Many Liberal and NDP supporters were observed discarding their Senate nominee ballots, while the proportion of spoiled ballots was higher in ridings and polls where the Liberals and NDP did well in the concurrent Legislature election.

Appointments[edit]

Liberal Party of Canada Prime Minister Paul Martin refused to advise Governor General Adrienne Clarkson to appoint the elected Senate nominees to the Upper Chamber, instead putting forward three appointees of his choosing: Grant Mitchell, Elaine McCoy and Claudette Tardif on March 24, 2005.

Senate reform proponents actively decried the appointments, urging the new senators to vacate their seats for the elected senators-in-waiting. The new appointments left little hope of another vacancy for Alberta's Senate seats in the near future.

In the 2006 Canadian federal election Stephen Harper promised he would advise the Governor General to appoint the senators-in-waiting if his party won. On April 19, 2007, Harper appointed Bert Brown to the Senate after Daniel Hays retired early.

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach decided to defer new Senate elections set to take place when the terms of senators-in-waiting ended, which was controversial. Senator-in-waiting Link Byfield decided to resign as he felt he lacked a mandate. Remaining candidates Breitzcruz and Unger both accepted the term extension. Unger was appointed to the Senate on January 6, 2012, after the mandatory retirement of Tommy Banks.

Results[edit]

Candidate Party Votes # Votes % Ballots % Elected Appointed
     Bert Brown Progressive Conservative 312,041 14.3% 43.7% X July 10, 2007
     Betty Unger Progressive Conservative 311,964 14.3% 43.6% X January 6, 2012
     Cliff Breitkreuz Progressive Conservative 241,306 11.1% 33.8% X Term ended March 26, 2012
     Link Byfield Independent 238,751 11.0% 33.4% X Resigned November 2010[1]
     Jim Silye Progressive Conservative 217,857 10.0% 30.5%
     David Usherwood Progressive Conservative 193,056 8.9% 27.0%
     Michael Roth Alberta Alliance 176,339 8.1% 24.7%
     Vance Gough Alberta Alliance 167,770 7.7% 23.5%
     Tom Sindlinger Independent 161,082 7.4% 22.5%
     Gary Horan Alberta Alliance 156,175 7.2% 21.9%

Source: Elections Alberta

Note:

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Senator-in-waiting Byfield resigns". CBC News. November 22, 2010. Retrieved March 26, 2012.