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Meet Senator

Pana Merchant

The Hon. Pana  Merchant, B.A. Appointed to the Senate by the Rt. Honourable Jean Chrétien, Senator Pana Merchant represents the province of Saskatchewan and the Senatorial Division of Saskatchewan. She has served in the Senate of Canada since December 12, 2002.

How do you become a senator?

Posted on 28 February 2008

The Governor General appoints senators on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. To become 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 No doubt this is why Parliament has never repealed these provisions.

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