With 12 vacant Senate seats and the possibility of upcoming vacancies in the upper chamber, Senators like Percy Downe are taking it upon themselves to draw attention to the need for greater diversity.
Specifically, Downe has pointed out that there are currently no veterans, farmers or fishers in the Senate.
Because there are 12 Senate vacancies from nine provinces and territories across Canada, and five more scheduled for this year, the Senator from Charlottetown, PEI has written a letter to Dr. Huguette Labelle, Chair of the Advisory Board for Senate Appointments, to encourage him to diversify the Senate with individuals of these backgrounds.
“These upcoming appointments provide an opportunity for the Senate to better reflect the diversity of Canada, and to fill existing gaps in representation, such as the absence of farmers, fishers and veterans in the Senate of Canada,” stated a press release from Downe’s office.
In regards to veterans, the Liberal Senator points out that Veterans are best suited to speak on issues and benefits that relate to former members of the Canadian Armed Forces. Taking this one step further, in his letter to Dr. Labelle, Downe mentions the need to appoint Veterans who served in the junior ranks specifically.
“In the case of veterans, I have noticed in my study of veterans’ issues that the majority of concerns about treatment, assistance and benefits come from veterans below the rank of Colonel. An appointment from this group of enlisted men and women could help address the many problems and complaints surrounding veterans’ services that we have all read about in the media,” wrote Downe, who has served as a member of the Senate since June 26, 2003.
Appointments and nominations for the vacant Senate seats are open until April 3.