Daily Shame #3
The Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper, Prime Minister- Senate appointments
Harper has stated he wants to change the Senate. Harper wants to elect Senators and to place an eight year term limit. Harper stated he would introduce two bills to effect the change in the House of Commons. The bills then would have to be passed by the Senate.
Its really a hypothetical exercise as Harper will never get his bills passed in the House of Commons let alone the Liberal dominated Senate.
Harper went on to say he would start appointing Senators to ensure that the elected will of the House of Commons and the people of Canada is reflected in the Senate. Right now that is all talk. He wont get a reform bill on the senate through the house in the first place.
Alberta Senator Bert Brown, a Conservative, who was selected by Harper for appointment to the Senate after he was elected in a provincial election, has raised doubts about the legality of the proposed changes without the approval of the provinces. "... the Constitution calls for these types of measures to meet the approval of at least seven provinces with half the population of Canada." Quebec and Ontario are likely not going agree to such a change.
I'm no big fan of the Senate, lets get rid of it. Harper is just looking for an excuse to appoint Conservatives to the 16 vacancies. And he will do that. Harper went onto say...
"I do not believe it is justified that the Senate would continue to [be] dominated by a party that did not win two consecutive elections."Harper has been elected twice, to what looks like very short terms. He was elected to minorities. This ought to imply that he does not have an over-whelming mandate.
One other Canadian Prime Minister used extraordinary powers to appoint eight additional Senators so as to pass the GST in the Senate. Brian Mulroney had no problem and Harper will have even less problem doing it. Harper could in fact appoint as many as 24 Senators. Imagine that Canada.
The Conservatives are attempting to paint themselves as the anointed ones by the Canadian voters. They received fewer votes than the last election and some 65% of Canadians voted for people other than Harper's Conservatives. That's hardly a mandate to do as you wish.
The last Parliament allowed Harper to do pretty much what he wanted it to do. The Liberals played ball with the Conservatives, either by not showing up for a vote or showing up and voting in favour of a bill, this they did 43 times. I wonder if they have learned their lesson.