Wednesday, December 10, 2008

But but but...

...he's not flip-flopping, he's being pragmatic!

Harper to fill 18 Senate seats with Tory loyalists

Updated Wed. Dec. 10 2008 10:01 PM ET

Robert Fife, Ottawa Bureau Chief

OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper plans to fill 18 vacancies in the unelected Senate with Conservative loyalists before Christmas, CTV News has learned.

Sources said Harper is concerned the Senate committee system isn't working properly because there are only 20 Conservative senators sitting in the Liberal-dominated Red Chamber.

But according to insiders, what really drove Harper to move quickly and fill the vacant Senate seats is the possibility of losing political power in January at the hands of the Liberal-NDP coalition.

Hey Conservatives! Are you a 30+ landowner that want a cushy job with a fat salary until Age 75? Get your CV into your local Conservative MP today!

Oh, btw. I remember when the Liberals were in a minority, and were faced with making Senate appointments. Recognizing he didn't have a majority mandate, Paul Martin appointed Senators from different parties, including Elaine McCoy (Progressive Conservative), Lillian Dyck (independent NDP), Nancy Ruth (Conservative), Hugh Segal (Conservative) and Andrée Champagne (Conservative).

Anyone want to bet Stephen Harper rises to the Paul Martin standard of minority government responsibility and principle?

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Pearce said...

Gah... My head hurts.

burlivespipe said...

There's 'no rising' qualities for Harper. It's all snake-belly crawling, 24-7. But at least we'll know that Michel Fortier won't have to cash anymore EI cheques to buy that grey poupon...

tdwebste said...

Expect to see these seats filled with extreme conservative loyalist and mostly useless Senators. Canada's parliamentary system could be improved, but Harper has no interest in that. Harper wants instability he wants government to fail. He knows if he can capture or retain power when government fails he can gain ultimate and unlimited power.

Anonymous said...

So when Liberals stack the Senate with "extreme" liberal loyalists it's fine. What ever happened to fairness. The Liberal dominated Senate has been a pain in the ass for a long time. Harper wanted to change the Senate but Liberals everywhere including these blogs voiced their displeasure over such a move. So Harper is merely doing what Liberals governments have been doing for years. Rewarding their cronies. One exception here. If the Liberals will agree to reform the Senate, all Senators appointed by Harper will be without a job. So your comment about a fat salary until 75 only pertains to the current Senators . . . mostly Liberal.

Seems to me it's Liberals who are flip flopping including you.

Jeff said...

Do you even read the posts you comment on, pk?

Extreme Liberal loyalists like Hugh Segal, Andrée Champagne and Nancy Ruth? In case it wasn't clear, they're all CONSERVATIVES appointed to the Senate by PAUL MARTIN, who is a LIBERAL.

Again, try reading, lest you look like an idiot.

And if Harper was serious about Senate reform, he's negotiate a constitutional amendment with the provinces. But he's not. He's afraid of that, just like he's afraid of facing a vote of parliament. So give me a break. No one's buying this as anything but yet another flip-flop.

Jason Hickman said...

Well, I won't complain much if he apppoints a Liberal or two. I wonder if he has John Manley's e-mail address handy?

Barcs said...

So he's done just like Martin, Chretien, Mulroney (who actually had senate expanded to get his big constitution change though) and Trudeau,... and and and.....

So has he really flip flopped? or is he just loading it with partisans (as is the tradition of successive Canadian conservative and liberal governments) to push the senate in the direction he wants them to go.

Do you really think a 108 seat senate would vote to abolish itself with 20 conservatives and 60 liberals who are entitled to their entitlements???

You are right about a small few appointed by Martin.... of course to maintain some semblance of no partisanship in the senate you can't have 100+ liberal senators either. Martin appointing only liberal partisans would have hastened the calls of reform,.... and the loss of such a valuable resource to the liberal party.

"If he was serious he would negotiate with the provinces already".... what's the point. under most circumstances he needs the senate to vote for it anyway, why cause another constitutional debacle until it is actually possible???

So yeah, I am disappointed that he has to resort to such tools, but I am not sure whether that disappointment is for the tories or for the government as a whole.

You use the tools at hand. And I sincerely hope that every public institution in Canada is loaded with people from as far right as he can find while he is still in power. It might bring Canada back to the center. (Atleast we have Iggy now running the liberals, he atleast appears to be more centrist than Dion and Layton)

Barcs said...

I have a question tho...

What is your commentary on the liberal flip flop.

They were after all outraged that Harper was not going to appoint senators and "do his job" now they are outraged that Harper is going to appoint some....

Maybe we could use a little consistency not just from the tories,.. but from the liberals too...hmmm??

No doubt the liberals will stand up today and offer support the Murray-Austin amendment of 2006 (bi-partisan as it was) to add additional seats to the senate for BC and Alberta.

No wait.... That would allow the west to have the some power on the order of the liberal eastern base. And we can't have that,... the liberals after all are not as divisive as the tories. Their policys are to the best of all easterners (All of Canada from the liberal point of view).

....sorry if I sound like I am having a bad day..... just not liking the outlook:

Jeff said...

Ah Hickman, you troublemaker you. But then you do owe Manley. As long as he sits as a Liberal, I suppose...


Harper's flip-flop is this: he promised not to appoint Senators. Now he's going to appoint a crap load of them. Rationalize it all you want, and some valid points can be made, but you can't escape he's doing the opposite of what he said he'd do.

Second, there's the fact that we're in a minority parliament, which means Harper doesn't have a majority mandate, and so shouldn't act like it. The Liberals under Martin recognized that by consulting with the opposition, and appointing some Senators from other parties. I think that's a precedent worth following, don't you?

Third, Harper prorogued parliament to avoid a confidence vote that he would have lost, either triggering an election or putting the coalition into power. It is morally unseemly for him to stack the Senate with 18 firebrand Conservatives at a time when he lacks a certain moral litigmacy to govern and has (in spirit) lost the confidence of the House.

In essence, those are my concerns with Harper's senate appointment plan.

On Senate reform, do you seriously think the Senate would block a package of constitutional reforms passed agreed to by the feds and provinces? Not a chance.

Barcs said...

"Rationalize it all you want, and some valid points can be made, but you can't escape he's doing the opposite of what he said he'd do."

Sounds like oh sayyyyy... a Coalition????? Yeah, flip flops should be easy for the liberals to recognize having preformed so many of them.

Second the liberals under Martin realized by firing in only liberal senators into an already highly liberal senate would only heighten the west's opposition to the senate and make it an big issue again. It wasn't about bipartisanship,.. it was his feeble attempt at reducing western alienation.... without actually doing anything to benefit the west.... what was 2-3 seats when you had a 20 seat majority??

The 3rd one sounds alot like Paul Martin ignoring the pseudo confidence vote (an actual vote tho... not media grandstanding like we have now).... until he could give someone a cabinet seat for crossing the floor. BTW, I have yet to read your post legitimizing the last election call based on the same evidence as we have now of a pending confidence vote... after all all 3 parties highly publicized then that they would vote no confidence in the government at the first opportunity too. So why was it illegitimate to accept the results then and illegitimate not to accept them now?? Another liberal flip flop......

Why didn't you voice all those concerns about all the appointments.... and there were many that martin did while in office.... 3 "non partisan appointments"? he did hundreds of partisans....

But you seem to have hit on an important fact.. the Senate is not democratic.. it is appointments by the prime minister, and he can give them to a squirrel if he wants.... (just don't sell them like the democratic governor for Illinois)

Senate reform..... Would the liberal senate block reforms agreed to by the federal parliament and all the provinces to keep some liberal powers centered in Ontario instead of losing them to Alberta/BC?? You said they wouldn't,.... but I have as little confidence in that as you have in Harper. I think that they would block it in a heartbeat.

But we aren't even going to know are we?? Quebec doesn't want anything to do with constitutional talks, and I think the Ontario provincial government is rather unlikely to agree to dilute its provinces power in the senate at any price.

I guess it is too bad that the liberals don't have to vote on their future in the senate or in the extra 1.95 funding or parties.... Maybe someday soon I hope for both.