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Same old Senate – same old Harper

I’m presuming that Harper will use the “stability” argument as one of his reasons for re-appointing 2 Conservative Senators who had resigned and lost in the general election and appointing a defeated Cabinet Minister in that same election to the Senate. In the case of Larry Smith, who infamously claimed he was making a lot of personal and financial sacrifices to be a Senator, Harper can claim he’s rescuing Smith from extreme financial hardship and poverty.

He certainly can’t claim he appointed these folks to do “Senate reform” – not with a straight face anyhow. If you want the Senate reformed and elected, you need to do so with the approval of 7 provinces who have 50% of the population – Section 42 of the Canadian Constitution says so. Harper has his “stable majority”, yet he refuses to try to do his Senate reform the hard way – or the legal way. His piecemeal approach – if it goes too far – will be immediately challenged in court and constitutionally struck down. I suspect Harper knows this, but doesn’t care – like every other past Prime Minister has discovered, the Senate has become a convenient place for him to use to reward supporters with – even ones the voters rejected (Fabian Manning -the Conservative Senator from Newfoundland, has now been rejected twice by Newfoundlanders, and appointed to the Senate twice).

Harper has lumped this in with his other post-election move which was to immediately back off on his balance the Budget moves – do it early so Canadians forget about it in four years. It will be interesting to see how many of these stunts he does the next four years with a majority, and whether he has calculated rightly or wrongly that Canadians have short memories regarding his actions.

8 comments to Same old Senate – same old Harper

  • Actually, the Conservatives — or their pets in the blogosphere, anyways — are claiming that the reason they had to appoint more Senators was to help Canadians understand the need for an elected Senate.

    I wish I was kidding, but none other than Keith Beardsley is making the claim, and he’s a Harper insider, or a former one anyways.

  • G.J.W.

    Government leaders want a senate, who will do their dirty work for them. A senate that won’t stand up to them. If they do stand up to the leader, they find themselves out of a job.

    This was the strategy the ex Premier of BC, Gordon Campbell used. Anyone opposing him, lost their jobs. He was full of, spite, malice, hate and so vindictive, his sanity was in question. He got rid of the honest members of Elections BC. He then installed a friend, who would did not object, to doing Campbell’s dirty work. Harper and Campbell have a very close relationship. Campbell lied twice, to be re-elected in two different elections. Their personalities and governing strategy’s are identical. They are both arrogant and controlling. Harper stooped so low, as to insult and demean Ignatieff’s father. Beware of Harper, he used dirty tactics to win. Such a person, should never be trusted, as we are now seeing.

  • Scott: “If you want the Senate reformed and elected, you need to do so with the approval of 7 provinces who have 50% of the population – Section 42 of the Canadian Constitution says so.”

    Under the Conservative plan, new senators would be elected and would be limited to serving out a 8 year term. None of this is unconstitutional, but that does not mean that there would not be problems implementing such a plan. The elephant in the living room is that if the senate’s lack of effective powers flows from the senate’s lack of legitimacy, then electing senators might provide the senate with a degree of legitimacy it currently does not hold. One problem with proceeding thusly is that current senators are free to serve until the age of 75. As a result, Harper’s actions could either transform an unelected political body with no real power into a largely unelected political body with real political power or commit Canadians to the farcical and expensive act of electing people to office who hold no real power. Always content to play the Tin Man and Lion to Conservatives scarecrow, the Liberals remain largely mum on the subject.

    That said the main problem with Harper’s piece meal senate Reform plan is not that it has no chance of working. No, the main problem with such an undertakiing is that it might work. An elected and effective senate is a stupid idea.

  • It would not matter who was running for the Liberals because the NDP helped Harper go up the center, and because Harper spent 2 years with ads running Ignatieff down, for his to-be sheep.

    • Is this another of those “Since the Liberals did it, the Conservatives have every right to do it too?” arguments?

      Harper is quoted in the recent past as saying he’d never do what he is currently doing. That’s the difference.

  • Goran

    His piecemeal approach – if it goes too far – will be immediately challenged in court and constitutionally struck down.

    Challenge away; Harper will be filling the vacancies on the SC bench as well, and thus tilting the balance in the Tories’ favour there.

    Now they have control of the House, the Senate, and the SC. And all because the Liberals couldn’t wait to get rid of Ignatieff. They have carte blanche to do what they want for the next four years, if that is what they want to do. Great job, Liberals/NDP.

  • […] that wasn’t sitting well in the blogosphere and blogger after blogger started to point out Harper’s sneaky […]

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