The outrage over Harper’s decision to appoint defeated cabinet minister Josée Verner and reappoint Fabian Manning and Larry Smith to the Senate (they both resigned to run for election as MPs and lost) continues to reverberate around the Canadian political scene. Then Marjorie LeBreton, Harper’s leader of the government in the Senate, came out to defend the choices as being perfectly appropriate given the current rules for senatorial appointments. It was a bit rich.
Don’t get me wrong. On principle, I’m not opposed to appointing defeated candidates, MPs or MLAs. Many have a great deal of experience and still have plenty to contribute to public life. However, there tends to be a cooling-off period of several years after their defeat. In other words, if Harper had waited a few years to appoint Verner, it would have been acceptable. But to appoint her two weeks after she was defeated is an affront. This particular appointment process is simply egregious, as are many of Harper’s appointments. The fact that both Smith and Manning resigned, ran and were defeated only to be reappointed ignores the message of the voters, whom the Conservatives claim to cherish. This is especially so for Smith, who two weeks ago said that he had no place in the Senate after his defeat.
Here’s a bit more about the new cabinet appointments.
Here’s a look at this year’s National Prayer Breakfast on the Hill and the decline of religiously minded MPs in opposition parties.
The renaming of the Indian and Northern Affairs Department to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development could prove to be significant and not entirely a question of semantics. If you’re interested, here is a style guide on the use of the terms "aboriginal," "first nations," "first peoples," "Inuit" and "Innu." (Yes, they’re all different.)
David McKie looks at some of the policy discussions we may see over the next four years.
With their majority in hand, the Conservatives now look to finally dismantle the Canadian Wheat Board.