Harper’s re-appointment of failed MP candidates to Senate sickening

PM Stephen Harper’s announcement of the “new” Senators Fabian Manning, Larry Smith and Josee Verner is one huge face slap to all of us who have been disgusted by Liberal and PC Senate patronage appointments of the past.

It was bad enough when Harper put these 3 in the Senate in the first place as a taxpayer paid holding-pool of Conservative MP candidates, but to re-appoint them after their election defeat is beyond disgraceful.

Also: Larry Smith when asked during election about returning to Senate:

“The condition for accepting the position in the Senate was I had to send my letter of resignation when I started campaigning” 

“So I have no place there and I have no expectation of returning there.”

Also: Fabian Manning March 28:

“I had a choice. I could have stayed in the Senate and gone on with a lifestyle that wouldn’t necessarily have me up every day working on behalf of the people. I chose not to”

48 Responses to “Harper’s re-appointment of failed MP candidates to Senate sickening”

  1. Mary T Says:

    Could this be a round about way to get his senate reform passed, get people upset re these appointments, force premiers to pass legislation to have senators elected.
    I am sure he knows the media will be all over this for days, leaving the job of running the govt off the front pages.
    There will be about 15 vacancies in the next 4 yrs.

  2. antfrm Says:

    not so sickening if we can get some decent Senate reform out of it – and I believe that is what PM Harper has in mind

    • Sixth Estate Says:

      He appoints Senators in order to build support for not appointing Senators? Please be serious…

      I think Harper believed in Senate reform once, but clearly he’s abandoned that now.

  3. J.A. Says:

    “No ministry in Canada in the future can do what they have done in Canada before – they cannot, with the view of carrying any measure or of strengthening the party, attempt to overrule the independent opinion of the upper house by filling it with its partisans and political supporters.” ~ Sir John A. Macdonald

  4. Mark Says:

    The good that ‘may’ come from this does not alleviate the bad that this announcement brings. Political patronage and rewards given out to party members does not enhance our democracy. Saying the Liberals did it before will not help either. Wrong is wrong, and I agree that this is wrong.

  5. michel devro Says:

    They would not of resigned in the first place if no guarantee of reappointment was offered, no big deal.

  6. MaryLS Says:

    Maybe appointing people to the Senate at all is “sickening”, but these three are no worse than alternative appointments might have been. Who would you appoint? Someone who might give this largely useless body a modicum of credibility? The Senate (with few exceptions) is made up of party loyalists. Now let us get on to reforming it.

    • Jen Says:

      When PM appointed Senator Wallin she is to remain in the senate until Sask passes a senatorial election into law then she steps down to run for the senator position. I am positive that it goes for the other appointed senators, who were appointed by PM except Burt Brown who was elected by Albertans.

  7. Roy Elsworth Says:

    besides now that harper did this he will be able to start the process of elected senates. he needed a full majority in the house and in the senate remember there were a few old conservatives that didn’t want senate reform so it would have been a 50 50 split. now they have the majority for that. the senates from what I understand are sworn bye oath to go into the senate to help change it to elected senates.

    • BC Blue Says:

      Ya, just like Richard Neufeld huh?

      “Before I came here, I only thought about it when it was brought up in newspaper articles, or someone was ranting and raving about the Senate when they talked about elections. But I thought we should have an elected Senate.

      However, since I’ve been here, I am not sure that an elected Senate is the way to go.”

  8. Nicola Timmerman Says:

    I worked hard in Quebec to get Conservatives elected, but I don’t agree with this. We are far from the Reform Party with this.

  9. Dave Hodson Says:

    I don’t like the Senate either, but I’ll allow him these appointments, because without them, Harper doesn’t actually have a majority in the Senate. If he has any hope of passing Senate reform, he’ll need that majority. He might even need more than a simple majority, because who knows if all Conservative senators, especially the ones who were appointed many years ago by Mulroney, even agree with his goals of reform?

    I also believe he needs to make these appointments now, before Parliament sits again, so that he can have majority control of all Senate committees. I believe membership on committees is generally assigned in proportion to the number of senate seats each party has, and adding additional senators later duringa parliamentary session would not rebalance the committee membership without a prorogue of Parliament.

  10. fh Says:

    Unless the senate is reformed I have no quarrel with these appointments
    when the senate becomes an elected senate we will have more say until then complain but there is no way to change appointments at this time

  11. guffman Says:

    MaryLS has said it well.
    Lets get on with the senate reform now, and hopefully that’s what these three appointments are there to help accomplish.

  12. fh Says:

    before May 02 , 2011 we worked hard to get a majority Conservative Government
    I think rather than criticize every move we need to step back and enjoy the fact that now there will be the ability to get things passed

    • BC Blue Says:

      I’m not interested in games being played in bad faith. I want good gov’t which stands up for my principles. We already have Liberals for the other option.

  13. GW Says:

    What would you have him do then? Honestly? Not that I disagree with the sentiment, but the fact is this is what it is and the alternative is leave the seats vacant. Should he declare an election which he has no authority to do to chose the senators? What? Chretien made it next to impossible to reform the senate all at once so the best that can be done is reform it in bits, like term limits. Maybe filling it full of conservative toadies, as opposed to liberal ones will finally get things moving and get the provinces and everyone else on board to get the consitutional changes required to remake the house to an elected one. Right now this is all that he can do. And no, I don’t much like it either, but that is the way it is right now. Maybe we should take a breath before going off. I’d personally be much more angry had there been elected in waiting senators, regardless of political leaning and Harper bypassed them for toadies.

  14. JDot Says:

    BC Blue says..

    “Where did I say that it was?”

    Nowhere. Just pointing out that no matter who was appointed, was appointed. ie: not elected.

    In till we get the senate reformed(which I think is going to be hard frankly) people are going to be appointed. Wether it is a someone who failed to get elected or comes from somewhere else. I think is besides the point.

    Let’s just get the senate reformed..

  15. Acacia Says:

    I have no quibble with this as this is the interim step to finally getting on with reform.

    These are good people. They know the ropes, and can get right down to it.

    • BC Blue Says:

      What does Larry Smith know, that pork is more apt to be spread if you elect guys like him?

      “But it’s normal that you are going to focus on the areas with the people that do support you. That’s part of political life.”

      Remember that this “star” candidate came in 3rd.

  16. Hans Rupprecht Says:

    BC Blue hilarious stuff and enjoyable comments!

    I didn’t get appointed either although as a bona fide “Canucklehead” I would qualify…

    Fact of the matter is that 2 of 3 attempted to get elected and are returned to the Senate whence they came.

    If it was the “Coalitionistas” you could perhaps look forward to Senator Elizabeth May until age 75. But now Saanich Gulf Islands have the chance to turf her in 4 or 5 years time.

    Alternatively, the “Coalitionistas” could have appointed a 19 year old greenhorn to the Senate and left them there until age 75. Doesn’t that thought warm your heart?

    Senate reform has a way to go yet, but you can be sure if Iggy was vaulted to the PMO via the Coalition he would have gleefully pumped the Senate full of failed Liberal candidates.

    It may be the political version of “Valhalla”, but you still need a majority there to pass any substantive legislation, like the budget, crime bill reform, immigration reform etc. etc.

    But don’t let practical realities make you stand on your stump… 🙂

    Just think you could have had the “Franken-Senate” instead!!

    But Canadian voters got smart…


    Hans-Christian Georg Rupprecht, Commander in Chief

    Frankenstein Battalion
    2nd Squadron: Ulanen-(Lancers) Regiment Großherzog Friedrich von Baden(Rheinisches) Nr.7(Saarbrucken)
    Knecht Rupprecht Division
    Hans Corps
    1st Saint Nicolaas Army
    Army Group “True North”

    • Dave Hodson Says:

      Actually, they couldn’t have appointed a 19 year old greenhorn, because I believe the Constitution Act says that senate appointees must be at least 30 years of age. However, your point is still well taken.

  17. Kelowna Lorne Says:

    A great big yawn from me. Who cares?
    Let’s focus on the big stuff please. Little issues like who Harper appoints to the Senate aren’t worth wasting ink on.

  18. Mary T Says:

    Both political shows had on panelists and guests that really showed their hate. Libby saying canadians voted against those new senators, she is wrong. Voters in 3 ridings voted against them, 3 out of 308. And not one of them mentioned that we now will control all senate committees. If we did not get that majority prior to June 2, liberals could have had chairmanship of those committees or some of them. Those chairmanships can only be changed with a new election or after a prorogation. And it is a given that they have already voted against term limits, and election of senators.

    • BC Blue Says:

      Manning has been rejected twice by the voters now.

      • Liz J Says:

        I’m not sure if it was Manning the voters of NFLD rejected or the party. It seems they still have a hate on for PM Harper and Conservatives.
        Anyway, if Senate appointments are all we have to whine about we really are lucky. Maybe we should think about what might have been had we gotten a minority and a coalition of NDP and Liberals ensued. Think about that one every time we see that creepy Pat Martin before the cameras with his vitriol.

  19. Mary T Says:

    But he has never been voted in or out by all canadians, as libby and other are saying.
    It has been fun to watch the blood pressure of all those panelists rise. And, then Fife and Ian saying the PM has thumbed his nose at the PPG>
    Should be a fun four years.

  20. bettie Says:

    I have a question about Senate reform. I believe part of the reform is to limit their term to eight years. If that is the case, then tax payers would be paying for current Senators, PLUS those that leave when their term of eight years is over. Is that correct?

  21. Mary T Says:

    If Canadians are as upset over these new senators as the media makes out, along with liberal and ndp mps, will they rise up and go after their Premiers to pass laws to elect Senators. Doubt it. Also, the only vacancies were 2 in Quebec and 1 in NFLD. He had to appoint them before June 2nd. Who should he have appointed from those provinces.
    Poor Ian, upset there is not a reform bill ready for passing. The new govt does not sit till June 2nd. There are bills that have been defeated, can they be brought back for a second look. Weston finally mentioned that conservatives now have control of senate committees.

  22. Alberta Girl Says:

    “Many of us have spent a lot of time and effort on Senate reform while you were busy yawning away”

    And just how is that working out for us???

    Mary and others are right…without a majority in the senate; they could pass all the laws and changes they want – the would be held up/thrown out or generally changed by the minority opposition. IS that what you want for all the hard work of finally getting a majority – or can you give a little on the fact that by doing this; not only can changes that you want be made, but that reform you “worked so hard for” can also be started.

    That is what everyone is so pissed about – they see their last avenue of blocking the Harper majority go down in flames.

    So get off your high horse and look at the long game and try to understand why this might have been necessary – to do otherwise just makes you the darling of the left wing media.

    • BC Blue Says:

      Why don’t you explain the “long game” you know so much about then? Who is saying not to make Senate appointments?

  23. hollinm Says:

    Oh my God the wailing and knashing of teeth by the opposition and the media. Harper tried to reduce the terms of Senators and promptly got slapped down. He has been trying to convince provinces to elect Senators with little success. So for 144 years the PM has had the sole responsibility of appointing Senators. Obviously Harper feels these three have something to offer the country. When changes take place then he will abide by them. Until then he will continue to appoint as he sees fit as all PM’s before him have down.

    Once again the media and the opposition have not got the message. Canadians do not care about process, strategies, tactics. Otherwise Harper would be out on his a$$. So until changes take place the Harper haters are going to have to suck it up.
    For me Iam interested in what legislation the government is proposing and how that will impact me and my fellow Canadians.

  24. Adrian Says:

    I don’t imagine you’ll find very many people disgusted with the move given they haven’t been disgusted with previous odious moves made by Harper that contradicts his previous stated principles.

    The majority celebration is over but the hangover of what’s been elected remains…if Harper fails to bring about Senate reform before the party is turfed half a decade or a decade down the road, his legacy will be little better than Chretien or Martin.

  25. Don Muntean Says:

    It’s not really disgraceful! I can understand that backtracking on the initial position seems to be a ‘slap’ at those supporters who were looking for senate reform. I personally think that there is nothing wrong in what he has done. There has been no national discussion as of yet on this reform issue. Until that happens – the seats have to be filled. Outside of the appointees having failed at the polls – are there any other reasons to balk at their appointments? We’ve had a Liberal domination of the senate for for long – it would seem reasonable to me for the Conservatives to appoint Conservatives to these posts. Until the government can overhaul the senate – within a national ‘discussion’ – there is no wrong in this. I think that in the next four years we will see far-reaching and democratic change to our senate.

  26. Metasyntactic variable Says:

    Cynically, Harper may have decided to appoint them for in any Senate election in Quebec or Newfoundland Conservatives stand little chance of winning.

    Though strategically, as said Conservatives now hold 55 of 105 seats, having the power to control committee’s and pass the government’s agenda, including Senate reform.

    Unfortunately, it’ll take all ‘regions’ to agree to meaningful Senate reform; furthermore if it’s election only, it’ll only intensify the disparity of this grid:

    # of Senators / % of population
    British Columbia 6 685,581
    Alberta 6 548,391
    Ontario 24 506,678
    Quebec 24 314,422
    Manitoba 6 191,400
    Saskatchewan 6 161,359
    Nova Scotia 10 91,346
    Newfoundland and Labrador 6 84,244
    New Brunswick 10 72,999
    Northwest Territories 1 41,464
    Prince Edward Island 4 33,962
    Yukon 1 30,372
    Nunavut 1 29,474

    anno Domini 2006

  27. BERT Says:

    Great move PM Harper..You do not have to listen to the crack pot opinions anymore.It certainly is not a slap in the face to me.June the 2nd was coming fast and these Senator appointments had the experience that was needed.Don,t listen to all the BS PM Harper,just do what you need to do to ensure you have control over committees and the Senate,so Canada can move forward and get some of these policies passed quickly.Again PM Harper,not a slap in the face ,but a pat on the back..And PS ,yes,there are still some loonies out there that will whine and complain about your every move,but just ignore them.

    • bmatkin Says:

      Bert: I agree, he shouldn’t let a advantage go to waste.
      Suppose the Liberals get in next time ala Mulroney. They would be happy to fill the void.
      Also the returning Senator will not be drawing two pensions, so it also saves money.

  28. Harper once again shames the Senate – this time adds an expense cheat « BC Blue: One BC Conservative's view on it all… Says:

    […] appointments who have made an even bigger mockery of the Canadian Senate (see here, here and here) but to now put in a blatant taxpayer-funded expense cheat is beyond […]

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