Hon. Percy E. Downe:
Honourable senators, this question is for Senator Harder. There is continued confusion in Prince Edward Island about the Senate vacancy and when people can apply.
I’m wondering if you could inform us, of the current vacancies, how many are open and how many are closed. You indicated before that the one in Prince Edward Island is open. I had a number of people contact me over the holidays, and one of them, a woman involved in the agriculture industry, wanted to look at the application to get prepared to fill it out. She couldn’t even do that because it’s only online when the position is open.
My office made contact, on her behalf and others, asking about when the applications would be open, and basically the answer is they will be open when they are open. We don’t announce them. You have to check back every week or every few days to see when they are going to be open.
Is there any clarity on how this works for the people who are interested in these positions? Why are they not open until they are filled?
Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for the question. This is, as the senator will know, an arm’s-length process. I am not acquainted with the particular situation that he asked about, but I would be happy to find the information and ensure that he’s made aware of what the situation is.
Senator Downe: People have advised me as well that they can’t even get calls returned. There’s apparently a 1-800 number, but there’s nowhere to write. You have to email. Many times, emails are not answered.
There seems to be some type of wall around this independent process. It may be independent, but it doesn’t appear to be very transparent.
I’m wondering if you could tell us, for the current vacancies in the Senate, which ones are closed, which means they are not taking any additional applications, and which ones are open. As well, could you tell us when those that are open are going to be accepting applications for the vacancies — even a rough time frame so that people don’t have to check every week in February if the P.E.I. vacancy, for example, is not going to be open until July.
Senator Harder: I will do so.