Friday, May 20, 2011

Two premiers lash out over PM's Senate appointments

Two premiers lash out over PM's Senate appointments - CTV News

So let's see... Two provincial premiers have lashed out over the Senate appointments. Neither one leads a province where a vacancy was filled, and at least one of those provinces has a law in place to hold senatorial elections if only the Federal government would pony up some dough to do so.

Was Thursday a slow news day?

Let's be clear - the only provincial premiers who should be complaining right now are Mr Charest and Ms. Dunderdale. They are the ones who lead the provinces with the vacancies filled. The fact that neither one is publicly speaking out against the appointments means that they are okay with the choices.

But this leads to a larger point. This doesn't cause damage to Mr. Harper's reputation as a Senate reformer, nor does it fly in the face of his promises. Mr. Harper has proven in the past that he will appoint a Senator who has been elected in a Senatorial election, his only problem is that no other province has held elections.

I'm going to say that again, because I think it's important. To date, only ALBERTA has held an election to even advise the Prime Minister of a candidate for appointment. And he has taken that advice in the appointment of the last Alberta senator.

Now, my better half pointed out this evening that there are two problems - the first being the aforementioned problem that no other province has held elections, and the second being that there is nothing legislated to force the Prime Minister to take that advice. The first is easily corrected if only the individual provinces would. The second is up to Mr. Harper to legislate - assuming that any law short of a Constitutional change can bind the Prime Minister to that advice. Barring that, there's another easier law that may come into play - precedence. The longer that elected senators are appointed, the harder it becomes to go back to arbitrarily appointing them against the advice of the provinces.

Either way, with a majority in the Senate and Parliament, there is nothing stopping Mr. Harper from making it happen.


  1. Harper attempted to take some small steps to reforming the Senate and the opposition refused to support him. Harper asked the provinces to get on board with elected senators and almost all the provinces thumbed their noses at him. So, guess what, Harper stacks the senate with people sympathetic to his viewpoint. Good on him. Pile in even more friendly, young faces so it will take the opposition at least fifty years before they can overturn the Tory majority.

  2. There is legislation sitting in the senate re term limits and electing senators. Guess who stalled it, the liberal dominated committees.
    And the opposition in the HofC.
    And also the media was against it.
    Funny how they are crying now. Lots of provincial elections coming up so why not have a second ballot for senators.
    Jack want pension reform, will he include MPs pensions in that. One huge cut from govt expenses will come from not having to support the Bloc as a party anymore.

  3. Mary -

    I know what Jack's version of pension reform is, and my answer is set to repost tomorrow morning.

    That was the point of my post yesterday - that the same people screaming about the "undemocratic" senate appointments and the "undemocratic" prorogations thought that removing power from the plurality of citizens who voted for the Conservatives through the last 2 campaigns was quite democratic. They can't have hit both ways.

  4. In Dec 2011 2 ontario senators are finished and 1 in quebec. Lots of losing candidates in Que and Ont. AB also has one opening then, Tommy Banks is done.

  5. Re pension reform, there are many changes coming to cpp on Jan 1, 2012, decided by all premiers in 2009.

  6. I hear that Lawrence Cannon needs a job now. :)

    Were there any incumbents in Ontario that lost in the last election? Maybe Mr. Harper can appoint the Leader of the Libertarian Party of Canada to the Senate.

  7. As for CPP reforms, they are actually forcing MORE money into the bureaucratic money pit that is the CPP. Tune in tomorrow for details.

  8. Rumor has it that Canon refused the senate as he is being tapped for an ambassadorship in France or London. If he gets France, maybe he can have tea with iggy sometime. lol

  9. Due to the coming changes to cpp, that is why I am encouraging all my client aged 60 and over to apply for their cpp now. Surprising how many don't know that you can still work while getting your cpp. And in fact you actually get sort of a raise as deductions are no longer taken off your paycheque.