28 February 2008
The Governor General appoints senators on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. To be summoned to be a senator, you must:
- be a Canadian citizen;
- be at least 30 years of age;
- own $4,000 of equity in land in your province;
- have a personal net worth of $4,000; and
- live in the province that you will represent as a senator.
Today $4,000 may not seem like much money, but in 1867 it represented a considerable sum. Best estimates are that its present-day value would exceed $60,000 in 1995 dollars. A net-worth requirement seems out of line with 20th century democratic values, which may explain why Parliament has never adjusted this amount. The net-worth requirements in the Constitution ceased long ago to be a practical block to a Senate call for ordinary Canadians. No doubt this is why Parliament has never repealed these provisions.