I was reading the Wikipedia article on the Senate of Canada. Based on that, Canada is divided into four principal regions that all have 24 senators; in addition is Newfoundland & Labrador and the territories with a total of nine senators. The regions are described as a counterbalance to the two large provinces of Ontario and Quebec: Western Canada of "B.C., Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan" and the Maritimes of "Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island". However, Wikipedia, did not describe whether the regions actually manage to counter-balance the two large provinces as evidenced by the voting record.

While not directly relevant, I've read some criticism of the Senate as put down by Bill Rowe, a former Leader of Opposition in Newfoundland & Labrador. Rowe described, e.g., Alberta voting because of their oil resources more than for a common regional background with British Columbia.

So, do Senate voting records suggest that the regions as presently included in the Senate allow sufficient representation for provincial interests—in other words, do the provinces that make up the regions actually vote together with each other (and do their modern interests even align)?

I'm asking also because this seems a relatively uncommon way to make up a lower house, giving precedence to some regions but clearly not counting all provinces as equal to each other, while both American and Australian states are equal in the upper house.

I haven't focussed on the territories as they don't have an 'equal' basis compared to the provinces with respect to numbers of senators, and they're not intended to equal out the other areas.


1 Answer 1


No, Senators from a region do not vote together. And nor should they.

It is worth remembering that there is still a large amount of diversity within provinces and regions. For example, I grew up in a small town in southwestern Ontario, which is a big agricultural area. The priorities and interests in that part of the province will be different in many ways to those of Toronto, where more urban issues are important. Both of these will be different to those of the north of the province, where First Nations and environmental issues will take a higher precedence. Having Senators from across the province, with the range of experiences that comes with it, will inevitably result in different Senators from the same province voting in different ways.

  • So, essentially, what you're saying is that the Senate is asymmetric and smaller provinces have no equalising measures that would allow them to stand up to the big provinces because the 'voting regions' as intended in the Constitution (by the Wiki article) don't actually have aligning interests?
    – gktscrk
    Jul 12, 2020 at 15:31
  • I think more important is that the senate is appointed. These days representation by province means little as the senate expense scandal shows. Feb 13, 2022 at 20:12

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