Senate Appointments


Today, in the rumour-mill: the Senate is about to get stacked.

If you believe the word floating around the festively-decorated offices of the Senate, the Prime Minister is preparing to fill some vacancies in the Red Chamber sometime over the holiday break.

This time, it’s a slew of small-r reformers that are apparently waiting in the wings to be slung into the house of ill-gotten fame.

If that’s true, it means Stephen Harper is one (or more) of a raft of things: optimistic, perhaps, that the Supreme Court will be open to his idea of non-constitutional Senate reform and that by installing some malleable puppets who share his ideological bent for elections and term limits, he’ll finally actualize his long-held hope for pushing upheaval of the unelected chamber.

Or, maybe, Harper is unhappy with the brigade of ornery lifers who are besmirching his good name and turning the newscycle into a series of spending scandals and ill-timed resignations, so he’s looking to replenish some talent and create a more media-friendly body of politicians.

More interesting still, it could be that the boss is looking over his shoulder and fearing a constitutional challenge from a province protective of its plushy over-representation in the chamber of sober second thought, upset that their seats are being left to lie fallow under Harper’s stinginess when it comes to installing honourable Senators.

And then there’s the conspiratorial mindset that has gripped Ottawa in a panic of hushed fervour in recent weeks — could it be that Harper wants to ensure the Senate is fully-staffed with Conservative vanguards in advance of his unceremonious plug-pulling on his not-even-three year-old majority government?

Whatever the reason, if Harper does appoint his lackeys in the near future, it will be keeping with the habits of his madness.

Of the 59 Senators appointed by Harper, 30 were appointed in January — most, either on the first week of the month, or the last.

The last Senator appointments by Harper (that was not recommended to him by an informal election) were January 25, 2013.  There are currently nine vacant seats, not including the three only nominally occupied by the ousted three.  There will be another two left empty next summer, as their occupants are due to reach their mandatory retirement age.  But, given the pace of those pulling their pension ripcord early, that number will no doubt rise.

So Harper will, unless he’s feeling frisky, have to appoint some new Senators at some point.

Will it be next month?


Other articles by Justin Ling

Between the Acting of a Dreadful Thing

Et tu, Bernier?

The Lament of the Floor-Crosser

Liberal Flipcounters of a Third Kind

The Taming of the Prime Minister

Follow Justin Ling on twitter: @Justin_Ling


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