Harper cares more about rewarding his Conservative friends than creating jobs for Canadians." The prime minister himself has admitted he takes no joy in having to stack the Senate, a move seen by some as tantamount to waving a white flag of surrender on his dream of reforming the chamber.
He noted in a recent TV interview that he waited three years before filling most of the vacant seats, while his opponents in the Senate thwarted his plans to move forward.
Initially, the prime minister had hoped to appoint only senators who had won election.Most of those appointed to the Senate were not household names, but well-connected Tories such as defeated candidates, campaign organizers and party fundraisers.The government says it's still committed to democratizing the Senate and that nominees are expected to resign and run for their seats if their province ever introduces elections to the upper chamber.They complained they didn't have enough bodies to fill seats on committees, much less to challenge the dominance of the 58 Liberal senators who, the Tories contend, have been dragging their feet on important legislation.The last straw was the threat by the three opposition parties to defeat the Tories in the Commons and replace them with a Liberal-NDP coalition government, propped up by the Bloc Quebecois.Harper's timing, just before Christmas when most Canadians are preoccupied with holiday cheer rather than politics, suggests the government wasn't anxious to showcase the appointments.Opposition parties questioned whether Harper has the political legitimacy for a patronage spree, having averted the defeat of his minority government only by suspending Parliament until the new year."We're now faced with a very simple choice," Harper said after that furor."Does the government Canadians elected appoint those senators or are they going to be appointed by a coalition that nobody elected?She was named Canada's female athlete of the 20th century in a vote by members of The Canadian Press. There is no more sought-after patronage pork than a Senate seat and Harper and his ministers were inundated by Conservatives clamouring for a favour.Appointees will receive a 0,400 annual salary indexed to inflation until they retire or reach age 75, followed by a very comfortable pension -- and both are indexed to inflation.