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Monday, December 22, 2008

Some get their reward right here on earth

As expected, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has given 18 Canadians an early Christmas gift—a seat in the Senate.harper Four will fill vacancies from Quebec, three each in British Columbia and Nova Scotia and two each for Ontario and New Brunswick. One vacancy is being filled in each of Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan and Yukon.

Among the best known names are: CTV host Mike Duffy, former broadcaster Pamela Wallin, Olympian Nancy Greene and Conservative fundraiser Irving Gerstein.

PM Harper said in a news release,

quote-left-red-beige-bgOur government will continue to push for a more democratic, accountable and effective Senate. If Senate vacancies are to be filled, however, they should be filled by the government that Canadians elected rather than by a coalition that no one voted for.quote-right-red-beige-bg

The appointees have apparently pledged to support eight-year term limits and future Senate reform legislation. And according to the news release, each incoming Senator has also declared “his or her unwavering commitment to support Canadian unity and oppose the coalition.”

quote-left-red-grey-bgIf the opposition parties do not approve of these Senate appointments they should stop obstructing our attempts to introduce meaningful Senate reform. For our part, we will continue working with the provinces and reform-minded parliamentarians to build a more accountable and democratic Senate.quote-right-red-grey-bg

– PM Stephen Harper

Undoubtedly, the opposition will huff and puff with pretended outrage. And, in the case of the Grits, any such outrage is, of course, pure hypocrisy.

The reality is that Senate Reform is not possible in the present political environment, and that body has to be able to properly carry out its constitutional responsibility—currently the Senate is so undermanned that it is barely able to do so. That leaves the PM with little choice but to make appointments.

Looking at the list of new Senators, the PM could have done a lot worse. Many if not all on the list have earned the honour as much as any Canadian has.

For a full list of the appointments, see here.smleaf

4 comments — This is a moderated blog and comments will appear when approved. Please don’t resubmit if your comment doesn’t appear immediately, and please do not post material that is obscene, harassing, defamatory, or otherwise objectionable.

  1. "Many if not all on the list have earned the honour as much as any Canadian has."

    Like Rivard? Did he earn it when he was working hard with Parizeau and Bouchard and Dumont to destroy Canada in the referendum?

    And Harper has the gall to say Dion was trying to "destroy Canada" for working with the Bloc.

    No false outrage here, though. No outrage at all. We've all come to expect nothing but promise breaking and flip flopping from this erratic decision-maker. Is Martin's dithering worse than Harper's erratic lurching promise breaking? Hard to say.

    Anyway, for posterity, here is what Harper was saying when he was trying to be principled:

    “As everyone in this room knows, it has become a right of passage for aspiring leaders and prime ministers to promise Senate reform - on their way to the top. …But once they are elected, Senate reform quickly falls to the bottom of the Government's agenda. Nothing ever gets done.”
    (Stephen Harper, Speech on Senate Reform before Senate Committee,
    September 7, 2006)

    “I don't plan to appoint senators; that's not my intention.”
    (Stephen Harper, Standard-Freeholder, January 14, 2006)

    “An unelected Senate should not be able to block the will of the elected House in the 21st century.”
    (The True North Strong and Free: Stephen Harper's Plan for Canadians,
    2008 Conservative Platform, p. 24)

    “Stephen Harper will cease patronage appointments to the Senate. Only candidates elected by the people will be named to the Upper House.”
    (Stephen Harper Leadership Website,,
    January 15, 2004)

    “Despite the fine work of many individual Senators, the Upper House remains a dumping ground for the favoured cronies of the Prime Minister.”
    (Stephen Harper Leadership Website,,
    January 15, 2004)

    “I challenge Mr. Martin, once he becomes Prime Minister, to turn a page on the past, and appoint only elected Senators to the Upper House.”
    (Stephen Harper, Canadian Alliance Press Release, July 4, 2003)

    “Canadians from Newfoundland and Labrador to British Columbia remain ashamed of Canada`s senior legislative body. They are ashamed the Prime Minister continues the disgraceful, undemocratic appointment of undemocratic Liberals to the undemocratic Senate to pass all too often undemocratic legislation.”
    (Stephen Harper, Hansard, March 7, 1996)

    “We don't support any Senate appointments.”
    (Stephen Harper, Winnipeg Free Press, January 29, 1996)

  2. None of us legitimate small-c conservatives any longer expect Harper to govern as one of us; however, we didn’t dream in our worst nightmares that even this left wing PM could screw up his senator appointments this bad.

    Appointing a number of left-wing Liberals is not going to make it any easier to get his agenda through the Senate.

    Genuine conservatives are calling for a leadership convention, immediately!


  3. Thankyou Mr. Prime Minister for making inspired choices in your Senate selections. Each individual is a outstanding Canadian who will proudly represent the upper Chamber. Now we will have some grownups in the Chamber (unlike the blowhard George Baker and ditzy, secondrate jazz guy, Tommy Banks). There is a delicious irony to these choices - not all are partisan Conservatives - Mike Duffy, Nancy Greene, or Pamela Wallin. The choice of Fabian Manning is a delicious irony, now Danny Williams will have his Christmas wish. A real "go to guy" that he was begging for after the election. Nobody can say that the Prime Minister doesn't have a sense of humor. I am hysterical over this choice - talke about a poke in the eye to the wannabe Mr. Chavez of the Northern Rock.

  4. HArper was forced into this? Harper is the chess player that is 57 moves ahead of the mortals. He has a weak commons caucus and he needed more cronies to support him.