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Elections BC wants $1M ahead of possible senate election

VICTORIA (NEWS1130) – Elections BC wants $1-million from the province to prepare for a senate election.

Not only has the vote not been called, legislation making it legal does not yet exist. But the premier has expressed support for a private member’s bill in the legislature.

The BC NDP says now is not the time to be spending money on this issue.

“The problem is, the Prime Minister is constitutionally and legally able, and probably will, deny the results of any such election,” says Leonard Krog, opposition critic for the Attorney General of BC.

“I can’t see what the point of it is when we face other issues,” he adds.

Krog says he understands that Elections BC will need time and money to get ready for such a vote, but he believes senate elections are not a high priority right now.

The issue is gaining steam as BC senator Gerry St. Germain approaches retirement. He will be leaving the senate in November.

Krog notes is not in favour of senate elections.

“Alberta has tried this. It’s never worked, it’s not binding,” he says. “And you know, if we want to talk about the senate, let’s first talk about abolition, which is my national party’s position on the senate.”

“And if we’re not prepared to abolish, then let’s talk about reform,” Krog adds.

He believes it’s time to talk about fundamental constitutional reform. “But we’re not going to achieve it by a piece-meal approach and an election that won’t be binding.”

If legislation allowing a senate vote is passed this fall, the Chief Electoral Officer says a likely scenario would see the first vote happening in May of next year, in conjunction with the provincial election.