We've heard more than enough from the critics who accuse Stephen Harper of "abandoning principle" by making Senate appointments from among Conservative party heavyweights and advisors who are close to him personally, exactly like every other prime minister in memory. The Prime Minister has had exactly one opportunity to select a Senator according to the provincial election procedure he advocates, and he used that opportunity. We ask, as we have asked before: what can be the possible objection to practically any manner, within reason, in which he might dispose of the rest of the seats?Read the whole thing - please.
Keep in mind that the PM has no constitutionally possible method of contracting with his appointees to leave office after his proposed eight-year sunset period expires; once a senator is in, nothing a prime minister does from the lower house can force him out. This obviously means that the only practical way Mr. Harper can carry out the one incremental reform open to him is to choose senators that he can trust and that are on board with his program. We don't really want him picking totally unqualified personal friends, or people with strong financial incentives to go back on their word. So who's left on the long list once it's winnowed down by these requirements?
And another thing - amid the wailing about the appointment of Conservative Party insiders Doug Finley, Carolyn Stewart-Olsen and Don Plett I don't hear much in the way of praise from Conservatives for the choice of former St Eustache mayor and University of Quebec law professor Claude Carignan, past president of Acadia University Kevin Ogilvie, former Northwest Territories Premier Dennis Patterson, retired Montreal Canadiens coach Jacques Demers or journalist and author Linda Frum Sokolowski, all of whom have had distinguished careers in their respective fields and will undoubtedly represent Canadians well in the Red Chamber.
Absent any realistic timetable for reforming the Senate with a minority government, its time Tories realized that a majority of Liberal hacks in the Senate is an obstacle to meaningful change and Harper has to do what he has to do. Leave the sniping to the Liberals.