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Most residents agree with holding an Alberta-style, non-binding election to fill the current vacancy in the upper house.

Vancouver, BC – British Columbians express a preference for the abolition or reform of the Canadian Senate, and show little affinity towards the country’s upper chamber, a new poll by Insights West has found.

In the online survey of a representative provincial sample, more than two thirds of BC residents say they are in favour of either abolishing the Senate of Canada altogether (35%) or reforming the upper house to allow Canadians to elect their senators (32%).

Only 14% of British Columbians would consent to the creation of a selection committee that would appoint non-partisan senators, and just 2% would leave the Senate as it is, with members appointed by the Prime Minister.

When gauging their options to deal with the upper house, men clearly choose abolition (41%, compared to 32% for electoral reform), while women are slightly more likely to favour reform (33%, compared to 29% for abolition).

British Columbians aged 35-to-54 are evenly split in their assessment of the Senate’s future. Residents aged 18-to-34 would rather have an elected upper house (33%), while those aged 55 and over are more supportive of abolition (44%).


Across British Columbia, only 17% of residents correctly answered that British Columbia is allocated six seats in the Senate of Canada, and just 25% were able to write the name of at least one current BC senator when prompted.

“The level of identification of two key questions surrounding the Senate—its composition and British Columbia’s current representatives—is painfully low,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs at Insights West. “Only one-in-four residents are capable of naming at least one senator, with most mentions focusing on former Vancouver Mayor and Paul Martin appointee, Larry Campbell.”

The Province of Alberta has held several non-binding elections to choose nominees for appointment to the Senate. More than three-in-five British Columbians (63%) would agree with holding a similar election in their province, while 17% are against this idea.


About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary and has ten full-time and five part-time employees.

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from February 4 to February 6, 2014, among 810 British Columbians who are aged 18+ and are Your Insights panel members. is Insights West’s in-house access panel offering on-demand samples for both clients and research suppliers looking for Western Canadian populations. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age and gender. While statistical margins of error are arguably not applicable to online panels/online studies of this nature, we have assumed that the same margins of error apply as if it were a true unweighted random probability sample with a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty. To view the detailed data tabulations, click here.

For further information, please contact:

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West


Photograph: Daryl Mitchell