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Samson v Attorney General of Canada (1998), 165 DLR (4th) 342 (FCTD)


Applicants have applied for an injunction to restrain the Governor General of Canada from appointing a Senator from Alberta unless that person has been elected pursuant to the provisions of the Senatorial Selection Act. Stan Waters was elected in by Alberta and in 1990 he was appointed to the Senate – therefore he says a constitutional convention was made and it was violated.


Does the GG have discretion to appoint anyone they wish, with recommendation from the PM, to the senate? Or does the Senatorial Selection Act prevent the GG from electing a senator in Alberta who was no elected in by this act?


One precedent does not a constitutional convention make
**The power of the GG to appoint qualified persons to the Senate is purely political and unfettered

If there is no serious issue to be tried in a matter, that issue will not be tried


Ss. 24 and 32 confer on the Governor the right to appoint Senators. This power is discretionary. A limitation could only be imposed if there was a constitutional amendment to these sections.

The fact that the GG had at one point appointed someone who had be elected in Alberta under the Senatorial Selection Act, does not constitute a convention which alters the express wording of the Constitution.


The appellant’s claim is not legal but is political in nature. Have failed to establish that the case raises a serious issue to be tried. Application for injunction dismissed.

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