Today, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced his picks for the five vacant Senate seats. Nothing untoward in his picks though I did find one in particular quite interesting. That was his choice to represent Ontario, Bob Runciman of Brockville, Ontario the MPP who formerly represented the Ontario riding of Leeds-Grenville. Most conservatives will agree that Mr. Runciman is an excellent—some might say “overdue”—choice for our upper house.
What I find curious is the timing of Mr. Runciman’s appointment.
In the months following the 2007 provincial election when John Tory was forced to lead his Progressive Conservative caucus from outside the legislature, Prime Minister Stephen Harper could have made Mr. Runciman one of his December 2008 Senate picks, but chose not to do so.
That was significant because many of us expected to see Mr. Runciman go to the Senate then, which would have made his vacant seat available for John Tory. That would have been a solution to John Tory’s dilemma (finding a vacant seat), and former MPP Laurie Scott would not have had to announce her resignation from the legislature on January 9, 2009, allowing Tory to run in the resulting by-election in Halliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock.
Ontario was represented among PM Stephen Harper’s picks in 2008, so presumably Bob Runciman could have been chosen at that time, and many thought the “courtesy” was owed to John Tory and the Ontario PCs.
The PM’s decision left John Tory in a rather awkward position, and I often wondered if it was a deliberate attempt to make life difficult for the Ontario party’s former leader. Exactly what the prime minister’s motive to hurt John Tory could have been, I have no idea. But I found his decision curious nevertheless.
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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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