banner photo:

"Each individual should allow reason to guide his conduct, or like an animal, he will need to be led by a leash."
Diogenes of Sinope

Banner photo
Thousand Flowers tapestry (15th Century) - Beaune, France (detail)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Harper vs the Senate

All you Tories out there in the circular firing squad who have been complaining that the Prime Minister has abandoned his principles by appointing Conservative hacks to the Senate should read this editorial in today's National Post - In defence of Harper's senators:
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?

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?
Read the whole thing - please.

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.


Joanne (True Blue) said...

Well said Eric! (Especially that last paragraph.)

scanoo said...

the editorial says it all - the only way toward reform is through Mr Harper's focus - lets celebrate that we have someone who actually gives a rat's a... about stickhandling through the morass

Kevin said...

Personally I don't find the senate appointments all that disagreeable. But as to the principals question; Harper gave those up for power long ago.

furniture rental Toronto said...

Well written. You have a great point - not many seem to notice how many important personalities were appointed. They surely will represent well. Claude Carignan, just wow.

Take care.

Anonymous said...

The past participle of "lead" is spelled "led" -- i.e. up above on your "leader"!
Tories rule!

Eric said...

Anonymous: oops - that's what happens when you cut & paste. I'm shocked, shocked I tell you, that I didn't notice it before. Duly corrected.

Sean Calder said...

Thank-you. I couldn't have said it better myself.

Kevin, as for Harper giving up his principles, well, we could probably argue in circles about this for days on end, but until he has a Majority, he is forced to play "The Game" until he does. Then he will have the mandate (and the time) to engage those principles and get some serious work done WITHOUT the real continuous threat of an election from the Opposition Parties.

Seriously, how can people not understand that?

Until Conservatives have a Majority Government, anything that they try to do that the opposition can possibly demonize won't see the light of day or be given a chance to see how it will benefit Canada.

Instead, Conservative hawks would rather continuously die on principle, never having gained the opportunity instead of doing what had to be done to get there.