01/21/2012 12:31 EST | Updated 03/22/2012 05:12 EDT

Alberta to elect Senate nominees

Alberta will hold Senate nominee elections during the next provincial election, the government announced Friday.

Alison Redford said in a release that Albertans deserve the chance to nominate senators that represent their province.

“Alberta has been a champion for bringing reforms to the Senate and we will continue to advocate for an elected Senate,” Redford said.

The province will elect three Senate nominees: one for each of the two vacancies that are expected in the next six years and one extra in case of early retirement.

Alberta has the led the way on senate reform, said Tim Uppal, Canada's Minister of State for Democratic Reform.

Alberta passed legislation in 1989 enabling nominee elections. Three Senate nominees have been appointed since then — Stan Waters in 1990; Bert Brown in 2007; and Betty Unger in 2012.

"The Harper Government welcomes Alberta's continued leadership on Senate reform," said Uppal, Edmonton-Sherwood Park MP. "The Senate's effectiveness and legitimacy suffers because 99 per cent of senators have no democratic mandate from Canadians."

Once the election is called the candidates will have to collect 1,500 signatures and provide a $4,000 deposit.