BY: MIROSLAV TOMOSKI
Early last fall Canada was promised, “real change” by its new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Among the most anticipated promises was the legalisation of marijuana by 2017, but this week the country’s Liberal government also announced plans to reform the Senate. With 19 seats open in the Red Chamber, Canadians can apply to become a Senator the same way they might apply for any other job.
“I am…excited to announce the start of the application process that is open to all Canadians, an important innovation that not only better involves Canadians in our parliamentary democracy, but also enhances transparency,” the Minister of Democratic Institutions, Maryam Monsef, said on Thursday.
Applicants must be 30 years of age and own at least $4,000 worth of property in the province they represent. According to the Canadian Parliament’s website the annual salary of a Senator starts at over $130,000 with only 40 work days scheduled for this year.
Appointments to the Senate are officially made by the Governor General, the Queen’s representative in Canada, at the advice of the Prime Minister. But behind this flashy ceremony the Prime Minister has held the real power to choose loyal party members to fill a nearly life-long position.
“These advances are crucial to restoring the confidence of Canadians in the Senate,” the Minister went on to say, referring to the lack of trust Canadians have shown in the current system.
Since 2012, the Senate has been wrapped up in a scandal in which four Senators were caught using public money to cover their personal expenses. Among them is suspended Senator Patrick Brazeau who was recently charged with drunk driving and less recently beaten in a boxing match by the current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The application process will be open for a four-week period until the 4th of August. So get your background checks, résumés and reference letters ready Canada, because you could be heading to Parliament Hill.