Mr. Harper has always believed senators should be elected and he refrained from filling most vacancies while trying to make the upper chamber more democratic. Those efforts ran into roadblocks erected in Parliament and by Ontario and Quebec.
Oh yes, Mr. Harper's half-baked attempt at Senate reform - formally call Bill C-43, and was one of the most ridiculous bills tabled by the HarperCon$ in 2006. It did not deserve to pass - any more than Harper's equally ridiculous (and now irrelevant) "fixed election dates" law. (which he saw fit to ignore this past fall)
“We've invited the provinces to hold elections. We've put an electoral bill before the House of Commons. But for the most part, neither in Parliament nor in the provinces has there been any willingness to move forward on reform.”
Wow, can you hear the tone of petulant whining in this quote? My goodness, Mr. Harper, you must really be missing the point. Nobody buys that your "reforms" are meaningful.
What really irritates me about these appointments comes in two forms:
1. Mr. Harper is making these appointments during a prorogue of Parliament that he triggered to avoid a confidence vote that he would likely have lost. As far as I'm concerned, along with a bunch of other patronage appointments made during this period of parliamentary limbo are simply a demonstration of how Harper abuses his position.
2. As The Toronto Star points out, Harper has tried to attach strings to these senatorial appointments:
According to Harper’s office, today’s appointees have all promised to support his plans for Senate reform, including eight-year term limits. But they are not bound to run for election themselves.
So - in short what Harper has done is bought his votes in the Senate, by insisting that they vote for whatever brain damaged legislation he puts forth.
Mr. Harper neither understands nor appreciates the function of the Senate in Canada as a check and balance to the often fractious House of Commons. He apparently believes that Senators are subject to the same kind of arm twisting and thuggery that he routinely applies in the House of Commons caucus.
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