The senate election process is used in Alberta to allow electors to vote for the persons who they would like to potentially represent them in the Senate of Canada.
Alberta has held these elections five times, on:
- October 16, 1989 in conjunction with the municipal elections
- October 19, 1998 in conjunction with the municipal elections
- November 22, 2004 in conjunction with the Provincial General Election
- April 23, 2012 in conjunction with the Provincial General Election
- October 18, 2021 in conjunction with the municipal elections
In each election, electors voted for the senate candidates that they wished to put forward to the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada for filling future vacancies related to Alberta in the Senate of Canada. These names are put forward by the Government of Alberta for consideration by the federal government. The Alberta Senate Election Act is provincial legislation and the candidates selected are not binding on the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada.
The following senate nominees elected in Alberta were appointed to the Senate of Canada:
- Stan Waters, appointed on June 11, 1990
- Bert Brown, appointed on July 10, 2007
- Betty Unger, appointed on January 6, 2012
- Doug Black, appointed on January 25, 2013
- Scott Tannas, appointed on March 25, 2013
2021 Alberta Senate Election
The Order in Council and Writ of Election for the 2021 Alberta Senate Election was issued on June 23, 2021, to hold an election to select 3 Senate nominees who may be summoned to the Senate of Canada, to fill a vacancy or vacancies relating to Alberta. The Senate Election took place in conjunction with the 2021 Alberta Municipal Elections.View Senate Results
Process to Run as a Senate Candidate
When an Order in Council for a Senate Election is issued, the following process is used for prospective senate candidates to become nominated.
1. Ensure you are eligible
To be eligible to run as a senate candidate, you must be qualified under both section 23 of the Constitution Act (1867) and section 7 of the Alberta Senate Election Act.
Section 23 of the Constitution Act (1867):
The Qualifications of a Senator shall be as follows:
(1) He shall be of the full age of Thirty Years;
(2) He shall be either a natural-born Subject of the Queen, or a Subject of the Queen naturalized by an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain, or of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, or of the Legislature of One of the Provinces of Upper Canada, Lower Canada, Canada, Nova Scotia, or New Brunswick, before the Union, or of the Parliament of Canada after the Union;
(3) He shall be legally or equitably seised as of Freehold for his own Use and Benefit of Lands or Tenements held in Free and Common Socage, or seised or possessed for his own Use and Benefit of Lands or Tenements held in Franc-alleu or in Roture, within the Province for which he is appointed, of the Value of Four thousand Dollars, over and above all Rents, Dues, Debts, Charges, Mortgages, and Incumbrances due or payable out of or charged on or affecting the same;
(4) His Real and Personal Property shall be together worth Four thousand Dollars over and above his Debts and Liabilities;
(5) He shall be resident in the Province for which he is appointed;
(6) In the Case of Quebec he shall have his Real Property Qualification in the Electoral Division for which he is appointed, or shall be resident in that Division.
Under Section 7 of the Alberta Senate Election Act,
You must be:
- Ordinarily resident in Alberta for the 6 months preceding Senate Election Day,
- Qualified under Section 23 of the Constitution Act (1867).
You must not be:
- A member of the House of Commons or Senate of Canada,
- A member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta,
- A candidate in concurrently held elections (municipal or provincial),
- An inmate,
- Prohibited from nomination or disqualified as a candidate under the Election Act.
2. Determine if you are running as an endorsed/aligned candidate or as an independent
Senate candidates may be:
- endorsed by a registered provincial political party, and/or
- aligned with a registered federal political party, and/or
- an independent candidate.
Candidates that are endorsed by a registered provincial political party will complete a Certificate of Registered Provincial Political Party Endorsement for Senate Candidate Nominees form. The name of the registered provincial political party does not appear on the ballot.
Candidates that are aligned with a registered federal political party will complete a Certificate of Registered Federal Political Party Alignment for Senate Candidate Nominees form. The name of the federal political party will appear on the ballot with the candidate’s name.
Candidates may be both endorsed by a registered provincial political party and aligned with a registered federal political party.
3. Register under the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act
To run as a candidate in the Senate Election, you must first submit a Registration of a Senate Election Candidate form under the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act to Elections Alberta.
If you have been endorsed by a registered provincial political party, your application must include a Certificate of Registered Provincial Political Party Endorsement for Senate Candidate Nominees signed by an authorized party official currently on record with Elections Alberta.
If you have not been endorsed by a provincial party, indicate on your application that you are registering as an Independent candidate.
Once we receive your application, we promptly examine the information and notify you in writing if your application is approved or not.
As soon as you are registered as a candidate, you have financial reporting obligations with Elections Alberta even if you withdraw your registration later or do not complete the nomination process.
One of the most important rules to abide by is to only raise and spend funds for your candidacy once you are registered and the campaign period for the election has begun. After the election you must file a campaign return to disclose all your financial activity. See here for rules on raising funds, and here for rules on spending funds.
4. After the Writ of Election is issued, file Senate Candidate Nomination Papers
Senate election candidates must collect 500 signatures from electors in Alberta in support of their nomination. Only original signatures will be accepted, and collection can only start once the writ of election is issued. All signatures must be collected on the Senate Candidate Nomination Paper and be witnessed by the elector that collected the signatures.
A completed original Candidate Nomination Paper and a $4,000 candidate nomination deposit must be filed with Elections Alberta before 2:00 pm on Nomination Day. Late papers will not be accepted.
The candidate nomination papers must include:
- The name, physical address, and signature of 500 electors;
- Witness affidavits for each elector that collected elector signatures;
- The appointment of an official agent; and,
- An affidavit from the candidate of their eligibility for nomination and their consent to be nominated.
Once your nomination is accepted, your name and registered federal political party affiliation, if any, will appear on the senate election ballot.