Tiny Proportion of British Columbians Can Identify a Senator

In spite of the low level of awareness about the Red Chamber, most residents would like to vote to choose the next senator.

Vancouver, BC [January 24, 2022] – Fewer than one-in-twenty British Columbians are able to name one of the five people that currently represent the province in the Senate of Canada, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative provincial sample, only 4% of British Columbians are able to correctly identify Larry Campbell, Bev Busson, Yonah Martin, Yuen Pau Woo and/or Mobina Jaffer as the province’s current senators.

Most British Columbians are also oblivious of the actual number of seats that the province has in the Red Chamber. Only 3% of respondents to the survey know that the correct number is six.

There is a British Columbia vacancy in the Canadian Senate, following the mandatory retirement of Richard Neufeld in November 2019.

A majority of British Columbians (58%, down six points since a similar Research Co. poll conducted in March 2019) agree with holding a non-binding election, similar to the ones that have taken place in Alberta, to choose a nominee for appointment to the Senate.

Support for a non-binding Senate ballot reaches 61% among men, 65% among British Columbians aged 18-to-34 and 69% among residents of Northern BC.

A third of British Columbians (32%) say they would prefer to reform the Senate to allow Canadians to elect their senators, down four points since March 2019.

Fewer British Columbians are supportive of other ideas, such as abolishing the Senate of Canada altogether (16%, -1), having a selection committee that would appoint non-partisan Senators (13%, -1) or having the sitting prime minister appoint members of the upper house (7%, -1).

The proportion of British Columbians who do not select any of these four options when pondering the Red Chamber increased by seven points to 32%.

“When thinking about the Senate of Canada, British Columbians are more likely to endorse the concepts of reform or abolition, in spite of the complexities either option would entail,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “The current status quo of the upper house, where a selection committee ultimately appoints members, is only more popular than giving the prime minister ultimate authority over who becomes a senator.”

Results are based on an online study conducted from December 21 to December 23, 2021, among 800 adults in British Columbia. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.5 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our data tables here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.