Removing senators a difficult task under the Constitution | CTV News
Under the Constitution, a senator can be removed for five reasons:
If for two consecutive Sessions of the Parliament he fails to give his Attendance in the Senate;
If he takes an Oath or makes a Declaration or Acknowledgment of Allegiance, Obedience, or Adherence to a Foreign Power, or does an Act whereby he becomes a Subject or Citizen, or entitled to the Rights or Privileges of a Subject or Citizen, of a Foreign Power
If he is adjudged Bankrupt or Insolvent, or applies for the Benefit of any Law relating to Insolvent Debtors, or becomes a public Defaulter;
If he is attainted of Treason or convicted of Felony or of any infamous Crime;
If he ceases to be qualified in respect of Property or of Residence; provided, that a Senator shall not be deemed to have ceased to be qualified in respect of Residence by reason only of his residing at the Seat of the Government of Canada while holding an Office under that Government requiring his Presence there.
It could be difficult to kick Brazeau out of Senate even if he is convicted: experts | iPolitics
However, even if he is convicted of the charges laid against him last week it might be difficult to force Senator Patrick Brazeau out of his $132,300 a year Senate seat before he is scheduled to retire in 2049.
“We have rules, they can’t kick him out,” said retired Senator Jack Austin, former chairman of the Senate’s rules committee. “They need a bill to kick him out.”
According to House of Commons Procedure and Practice, the last time the section of the constitution that allows a senator to be removed was used was 1915. Experts say removing Brazeau could involve legislation as well as resorting to an archaic legal concept rooted in Ancient Rome.
In fact, the concept of committing an “infamous crime,” one of the grounds that can be used to remove a senator, is so archaic that a number of Canadian law professors contacted by iPolitics were unable to shed any light on how the term should be interpreted or what crimes would qualify. Legal dictionaries vary in their definitions but most refer to crimes that involve fraud or dishonesty.
“That phrase ‘infamous crime’ was written in another time and another context,” said Robert Marleau, former clerk of the House of Commons and co-editor of House of Commons Procedure and Practice, published in 2000. “What I would say is both the criminal law summary indictment or criminal code has evolved since those phrases were used.”
“I don’t think you’re going to find someone who can give you a specific definition of what is infamous in terms of law,” he added. “I’ve never seen one.”