Friday, August 28, 2009


“Harpocracy” was how the Liberals cleverly dubbed it yesterday, when Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced a raft of party faithful as the newest members of the senate. Howls of outrage from political opponents and pundits was as swift as it was predictable, given that prior to coming to power Harper was a consistent critic of patronage appointments to the upper chamber and a staunch advocate of elected senators. But despite all that, I resist calling this a Fumble. Harper’s comment to the media (prior to the official announcements being made) was: “I’m willing to appoint elected senators ... so far only one province has held an election and that’s Alberta. Until senators are elected, this government will ensure that we have in the Senate people who will work hard and will support the elected government of this country.” I take that as Harper saying hey, if you want to make senate reform an issue as a result of this, I’m all for it – but in the meantime, I’m going to work within the existing rules. “I don’t think people care,” was what one party insider told the Toronto Star. If that’s true, it won’t be a big issue which will dog Harper (although the opposition will continue to thump that tub) – and if it’s not, it’s an issue that he will be more than happy to have as a focal point in the next election, whenever it comes – so perhaps there’s method in the madness after all.

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