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The approval of both chambers is necessary for legislation and, thus, the Senate can reject bills passed by the Commons. Between 1867 and 1987, the Senate rejected fewer than two bills per year, but this has increased in more recent years. The Senate of Canada and the House of Commons of Canada sit in separate chambers in the Centre Block on Parliament Hill, located in Ottawa, Ontario. The chamber in which the Senate sits is sometimes colloquially known as the Red Chamber, due to the red cloth that adorns the chamber, as well as the Throne. The red Senate chamber is lavishly decorated, in contrast with the more modest, green Commons chamber. There are chairs and desks on both sides of the chamber, divided by a centre aisle.
Various clerks sit at the table, ready to advise the Speaker and the senators on procedure when necessary. The three thrones at the head of the Canadian Senate chambers. The second chair to the left is for the consort of the monarch or the viceregal consort. The first two seats are vacant but present during the regular sitting of the Senate. The Speaker of the Senate uses the third seat with the Arms of Canada.
This seat is removed during the throne speech. At either end of the chamber, on the second floor, are the visitors galleries, with total seating in stadium arrangement for 350. The north gallery’s lower seating area, or tribune, is reserved for journalists. The Senate Chamber of Parliament Hill in Ottawa. St Edward’s Crown with maple leaves. The Governor General is the Queen’s representative and holds the power to make normal senatorial appointments, although, in modern practice, the Governor General makes appointments only on the advice of the prime minister.
Under the constitution, each province or territory is entitled to a specific number of Senate seats. Like most other upper houses worldwide, the Canadian formula does not use representation by population as a primary criterion for member selection, since this is already done for the House of Commons. Rather, the intent when the formula was struck was to achieve a balance of regional interests and to provide a house of “sober second thought” to check the power of the lower house when necessary. There exists a constitutional provision—Section 26 of the Constitution Act, 1867—under which the sovereign may approve the appointment of four or eight extra senators, equally divided among the four regions. The approval is given by the monarch on the advice of the prime minister, and the governor general is instructed to issue the necessary letters patent.
Since 1989, the voters of Alberta have elected “senators-in-waiting”, or nominees for the province’s Senate seats. The Constitution Act, 1867 outlines the qualifications of senators. Individuals must be both citizens of Canada and at least 30 years of age to be eligible for appointment to the Senate. Senators must also maintain residency in the provinces or territories for which they are appointed.
The constitution also sets property qualifications for senators. 4,000 in the province for which he or she is appointed. 4,000 above his or her debts and liabilities. 33 of the Act provides for the Senate to determine any questions of qualification or vacancy. The first constitution of Canada did not explicitly bar women from sitting as senators.