Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (Canada)
|Leader of the Official Opposition in the Senate|
|Inaugural holder||Luc Letellier de St-Just|
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Even though the position's name is very similar to the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons (the Opposition House Leader), the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate's role is more analogous to the Leader of the Official Opposition because its holder is the leader of the party's Senate caucus. The responsibilities that, in the House of Commons, are done by the house leaders—including day-to-day scheduling of business—are undertaken in the Senate by Government and Opposition deputy leaders and Opposition whips.
The current Leader of the Opposition in the Senate is Liberal Senator the Hon.Jim Cowan.
Since it is the Canadian House of Commons that determines what party(ies) form government, the size of party caucuses in the Senate bear no relation to which party forms the government side in the Senate and which party forms the opposition. Thus, the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate may lead more Senators than the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Since, normally senators have longer tenure than MPs, this is often the case immediately following a change in government, until the new prime minister can appoint more people from their party.
The Leader of the Opposition in the Senate is not necessarily from the same party as the opposition in the House of Commons. From 1993 until 2003 the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate was a Progressive Conservative despite the fact the Progressive Conservatives were not the Official Opposition in the House of Commons. The Official Opposition in the Commons; (Bloc Québécois, Reform, Canadian Alliance) did not have Senate representation. This scenario repeated itself following the results of the 2011 election that saw the Liberal Party lose Official Opposition status in the House to the New Democratic Party — since the NDP has no representation in the Senate (and favours abolition of the chamber) the Liberals will continue to form the Official Opposition in the Senate.
There are no set rules governing the manner in which the position is filled from within caucuses. In recent years, Liberals holding the post have been appointed by their Leader in the House of Commons. When the Conservative Party and its predecessor the Progressive Conservative party have been in opposition, the party’s Senate caucus has historically elected its own leader, although as noted by John Williams in a 1956 book on the Conservative party it may choose to follow the wishes of the national leader.
Senator Jacques Flynn was unopposed in 1967 after being encouraged to seek the position by the then national leader Robert Stanfield. However, Senators John Lynch Staunton in 1993 and Noel Kinsella in 2004 were elected by their colleagues over other contenders.
- List of Canadian Leaders of the Opposition in the Senate
- Leader of the Government in the Senate (Canada)
- Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons (Canada)
- Leader of the Opposition (Canada)
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2008)|
- "Senate of Canada - Fact Sheet - Key roles in the Senate". Parl.gc.ca. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
The Senate of Canada "Fact Sheets Key Roles in the Senate Chamber" (2010-01-28) Downloaded on December 4, 2011 from http://www.parl.gc.ca/About/Senate/Factsheets/leadership-e.htm
John R. Williams, The Conservative Party of Canada 1920 to 1949, Duke University Press, 1956, pg. 193.
Jacques Flynn, Un Bleu du Québec à Ottawa, Editions Du Septentrion, 1998 pg. 207
Tories get new Senate leader; Toronto Star. Toronto, Ont.: December 15, 1993
Sean Gordon, Tories elect leader in Senate; National Post, September 30, 2004