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Explainer: How do you kick someone out of the Senate?

A view of the Senate chamber on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Jan. 13, 2011.

Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Given recent controversies over senators' housing requirements and run-ins with the law, we thought many readers wondered how long a Canadian senator served.

All senators are appointed by the prime minister of the day to serve until they turn 75. Most senators appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper have agreed to serve eight- or nine-year terms. All Canadian legislation must be approved by the Senate, as well as the House of Commons, to become law.

Can someone be kicked out of the Senate?

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Yes. Under the Constitution Acts, 1867, there are five circumstances in which a senator can be disqualified.

1. Failing to attend two consecutive sessions. A sessions is a particular period of Parliament that can last a year or two. Click here to see how long sessions have lasted.

2. Taking an oath of "allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power" or becoming a foreign citizen.

3. Becoming bankrupt or insolvent.

4. Being "attained of treason or convicted of felony or any infamous crime."

5. Ceasing to be qualified in respect of the Senate's rules related to property or residence.

Also, under the rules of the Senate, a majority of senators can order a leave of absence or suspend a senator "where, in its judgment, there is sufficient cause."

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

A member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery since 1999, Bill Curry worked for The Hill Times and the National Post prior to joining The Globe in Feb. 2005. Originally from North Bay, Ont., Bill reports on a wide range of topics on Parliament Hill, with a focus on finance. More

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