Alberta Senate Nominee Elections

Brief History of Senate Nominee Elections in Alberta

Alberta is the only province in the country to select Senate nominees through voting and is currently represented by three Senators with direct mandates from Albertans: Betty Unger, Doug Black and Scott Tannas.

Alberta's Senatorial Selection Act was originally proclaimed into law in 1989, allowing voters to select nominees to fill vacant seats in the Senate.

Senate nominee elections were held in Alberta in 1989, 1998, 2004 and 2012, resulting in the appointment of a number of democratically-selected Senate nominees:

  • Stan Waters, selected by Albertans in the first Senate nominee election in 1989, was appointed in 1990 by former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.
  • Albertans selected Bert Brown and Betty Unger in the 2004 Senate nominee election. Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed Senator Brown in 2007 and Senator Unger in 2012.
  • Albertans selected Doug Black and Scott Tannas in the 2012 Senate nominee election. Prime Minister Harper appointed both to the Senate in 2013.

Mike Shaikh is the remaining nominee from the 2012 election. The next Alberta Senate vacancies are expected to be in August 2018 and March 2021.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does Alberta hold elections for Senate Nominees?

  • Albertans continue to support a Triple-E Senate – one that is elected, equal and effective. Electing nominees to fill our province's vacant Senate seats is a meaningful first step by the province towards addressing Albertans' concerns about their role in the federal decision-making process.

Who can run as a Senate Nominee?

  • The Canadian Constitution states that Senators must be 30 years old, residents of the province they represent, and own real property worth $4,000 (above their debts).
  • To qualify as a candidate under the Alberta Senatorial Selection Act, a nomination form with 1,500 supporting signatures is required and a $4,000 deposit must be posted.

For more information, contact Elections Alberta at 780-427-7191, toll free at 310-0000 or at

How much do Senate nominee elections cost?

Related Links
Senate of Canada 
Elections Alberta