The Canadian Senate has always been populated by those who have been the favourites of the Prime Minister. I understand that: and I think that is one of its flaws. As far as that goes, I have no difficulty with Harper’s appointments. We reviewed a couple of them yesterday in my post (Bowles, 2015). I might have a hard time respecting them for participating in this degradation of democratic principles, but for the most part Harper made appointments that were just as partisan and just as crony-istic (is that a word?) as those who preceded him. Harper had some grand wordsabout the Senate before he was elected, but they were nothing more than rhetoric. It’s all about consolidating power. His power.
Except, perhaps, for one thing. Harper appointed Pamela Wallin and Patrick Duffy: two Senators who, within just a few years of their appointments, have been the focus of intense scrutiny due to theft from the public purse: claiming more than their generous allowances for travel and duties and essentially cheating the people of Canada. Wallin has since been suspended for two years (just two years?) and Duffy is currently in the midst of a public trial which illustrates the depths to which people will descend in Canadian politics. And then there’s another of Harper’s appointments: Patrick Brazeau. He tried to collect two public salaries from the government while having a poor attendance for both.
Normally I’d include some references to back up the above descriptions: but they are common knowledge in Canadian News, and I found it hard to choose between the legion of articles and posts. For my American readers: all I can say is that you’re lucky you don’t have these kinds of figures appointed to rule over you. At least you vote for the men and women who turn out to be crooks and disappointments.
Oh, but I don’t mean to criticize just Conservative Senators. There are other examples from the Liberal side as well: there was Mac Harb, appointed by the previous administration and who is also supposed to go to trial this year for cheating the public purse. But I can’t respond to the errors of PM Chretien, who appointed Mr. Harb. I am voting for Harper. Or not voting for him. His senators didn’t have the decency to wait until he was done with his office before embarrassing him.
All three were suspended from the Senate. However, with the call of the new election, they are back to receiving their salaries (for literally doing nothing currently) and their benefits (CTV News, 2015). I can hardly imagine three people who are more out for themselves and who act less to serve the people of the country they are supposed to represent. Harper knew them when he nominated them: he knew exactly the kind of people who would be in jobs longer than his own would last, and who would thus be an illustration of his legacy. We need to vote Harper out of office in order to prevent more of this kind of person being appointed to our government.