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Poll confirms Senate modernization is on right track


For immediate release

OTTAWA, April 11, 2019 – Yuen Pau Woo, facilitator of the Independent Senators Group, says that a new national poll of Canadians confirms that recent changes to the Senate are resonating with the public - a clear sign that the modernization of the Upper Chamber is on the right track.

“The overwhelming support of Canadians for a less partisan Senate is reassuring,” said Woo. “It underscores that the new approach to selecting senators and the subsequent appointment of independent senators to the Upper Chamber align with the values of Canadians.”

Independent senators comprise a majority within the Upper Chamber with 58 members now belonging to the Independent Senators Group. This shift in the composition of the Senate follows a reform initiated by the Government in 2016 that changed the way in which senators are appointed, resulting in a proliferation of new senators who are not active in political parties.

The poll found that only three percent of Canadians want a future government to return to the old ways of appointing senators, while 77 percent of Canadians want to carry on with the new appointment process. In addition, 81 percent describe the fact that “new senators are not active in a political party and sit as independent members in the Senate” as a good change. Only five percent think the change toward independence is not good.

“I would like to thank and congratulate my colleague, Senator Donna Dasko, for leveraging her expertise as a pollster to document the views of Canadians on this major shift in our parliamentary democracy,” added Woo. “While I am pleased with the clear support expressed by Canadians in this poll, there is more work to be done to further modernize the Upper Chamber, including changes in the rules and practices of the Senate, as well as in the Parliament of Canada Act – the latter being a change that only the federal government can initiate.”

With a federal election only months away, Woo added it was important for the leaders of the various parties to articulate their views on Senate modernization, especially the appointment of non-partisan senators.


Media inquiries:

Grégoire Carrière

Director of Communications

Independent Senators Group (ISG)

Ro Izzetpanah

Communications Coordinator

Independent Senators Group (ISG)

Established in 2016, The Independent Senators Group (ISG) is committed to a non-partisan Senate and the modernization of the Upper House of Canada’s Parliament. With 58 members, the ISG is the largest parliamentary group in the Senate. Composed of independents not affiliated with any political caucus, ISG Senators work cooperatively but act independently.

The ISG’s Facilitator is Senator Yuen Pau Woo (BC) and the Deputy Facilitator is Raymonde Saint-Germain (QC), each elected by members on a two-year term (until 2019). ISG senators have been appointed over the years by five different Prime Ministers, with most of the current membership selected through The Independent Advisory Board for Senate appointments process.

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