Appointments miss the mark

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Before he became Canada's 22nd prime minister, Stephen Harper advocated for reforming this country's upper chamber of government. As leader of the National Citizens Coalition and in his early days at the helm of the former Alliance Party, he advocated for changing the Senate so it would become more representative of Canada's electorate, more responsible in its actions and more effective as a branch of our government.

 

Unfortunately, his record as prime minister seems to have changed that attitude in light of Wednesday's appointment of three defeated Conservative candidates to the upper chamber.

Considering he is now the leader of a new majority government, you'd think he'd take the opportunity to do what he's been saying he would do for years - make effective changes in how senators are appointed so it's no longer a political reward for years of service to party and not the country.

It didn't take Opposition and NDP Leader Jack Layton long to strike saying the re-appointments of Larry Smith and Fabian Manning and the appointment of former Canadian Heritage and Intergovernmental minister Josee Vernier smacks of partisan politics and is part of what's turning people off about Ottawa.

This is just the latest example of the prime minister not doing as he says when it comes to the Senate. Just days after first taking office in 2006, Harper appointed Michael Fortier to the Senate to represent Quebec in cabinet. Fortier later left the Senate to run as an MP in 2008 and lost.

For years Harper has been asking Canadians to give him the majority he needs to implement his plan for the nation. What he needs to do now is begin the dialog with the province that will result in a Senate that looks much different than it is today.

Whether that Senate is an elected one, or is abolished all together Canadians are ready for change in the upper chamber and by making these political appointments the prime minister may very well have missed a chance to those first steps in making that change.

 

 

Organizations: National Citizens Coalition, Alliance Party, Canadian Heritage

Geographic location: Canada, Ottawa, Quebec

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