Monday, December 22, 2008

Harper does a Chrétien, Mulroney, Trudeau ... all of them

My preference for Senate reform, the last number of years, has been a hybrid system -- having half the Senators elected by the people with the other half selected by the provincial and territorial legislatures, and both on a PR basis. I'd stick with the current levels of representation pending discussions on realigning the numbers by province, while doubling the number of Senators from each territory from one to two to preserve the hybrid system.

Failing that, and keeping the status quo, I would hope that the appointments to the Senate reflected the best Canada had to offer -- sports figures, entertainers, writers, well respected lawyers and so forth. Far as I can tell, I can only pick out three names out the eighteen summoned today who meet this standard: Former skier Nancy Greene, journalist Pamela Wallin and Chief Patrick Brazeau (whose lobby represents off-reserve North American Indians in Canada).

The rest are nothing but Con hacks, least of them Mike Duffy of the Conservative Television Network. And it makes Stephen Harper, who has claimed he wants Senate reform, look like the ultimate hypocrite -- not that many of us already knew that.

Also, Harper bypassed the House Justice Committee and directly named Thomas Cromwell to the Supreme Court of Canada. Qualified he may be, but if a government says that key appointments to the courts as well as the arms-length offices of government will be subject to Parliamentary review, shouldn't Harper stick by that?

Not a good day for democracy. Not unexpected either when Harper is basically our gauleiter for seven weeks while Parliament is suspended.

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