05.22.2011 08:58 AM

In today’s Sun: Harper gives you the finger

The bombshell came on Wednesday around noon, right after Prime Minister Stephen Harper had finished taking questions from reporters.

The media were already cranky. Earlier, they had plucked names out of a hat to determine who among them would be offered up to ask a few questions of the PM in his first post-cabinet shuffle press conference. Typically, Harper’s staff ignored the media list, and came up with one of their own.

But that wasn’t the bombshell, or even remotely surprising — in Harper’s Ottawa, that kind of stuff is standard operating procedure. No, the bombshell came after Harper and his minions had scurried out of the line of fire: “Prime Minister Stephen Harper has appointed three defeated Conservative candidates to the Senate,” The Canadian Press reported in a news bulletin, as jaws dropped across Parliament Hill (and the country). The Sun’s top guy on the Hill, David Akin, immediately tweeted: “Harper puts Larry Smith, Fabian Manning back in Senate. Also appoints Josee Verner.”


  1. JH says:

    I really wish someone would tell me what a PM is supposed to do with regards to reforming the upper house, if he can’t get it through the Senate? I mean any PM? How is he to obtain a constitutional solution when Quebec has adamantly refused to consider it? I was also quite struck by the hypocrisy of both Premiers Wall and Dexter. They have an option to go to the people on this and elect a senator – why don’t they? Why don’t they all? At least elected Senators with 8 year term limits would be a start.
    And as Neil said ‘don’t cry no tears around me’, especially for the Ottawa Press Gallery. I think Harper has royally given them the finger and I loved that. Since Ibbitsen said most of them hate him anyway, why not? Most would agree he got where he is without them, why should he change?
    Actually I think most Canadians also have little regard for the Hill and TO press crowd anyway and ignore them.
    I don’t like the appointments but I just wish all the pundits writing about this would propose a solution, given the constitutional difficulties etc. Not one has.
    And no I wasn’t paid for this, but I do like to be contrarian.

    • James Curran says:

      I really wish someone would tell me what a PM is supposed to do with regards to reforming the upper house, if he can’t get it through the Senate? Um, I;m certian he’s had control of the Senate for well over a year now.

    • Attack! says:

      Again, the issue isn’t so much that he made more Senate appointments, it’s that he made THESE particular ones (and, yes, in a cowardly way: not even being man enough to face questions about it or explain it to the voters himself… which he ought to do even more than usual, in this case, since there’s a very strong whiff of there having been illegal inducements for some of them to resign their seats to run as MPs in the first place, if there was an understanding that they could get them back if they lost).

      And it’s not being “contrarian” to be an apologist for Harper every time he breaks the principles he got elected on, again… it’s being a bootlicker.

      As for the Premiers, it’s a chicken/egg thing: they’d get serious about bothering with elections if HE did — if Harper showed he was genuinely against patronage appointments (as opposed to only being against the OTHER guys’ patronage appointments). But he showed he wasn’t, by appointing bagmen and backroom boys who’d never even stood for public office (much less won) like Doug Finley and Irving Gerstein. So why should they bother expending any political capital, money, and work on an obvious Harpercrite?

    • caoch says:

      Thank heavens the Cons have a majority

    • Ed says:

      Solution 1: Appoint senators. Appoint Conservative senators. Don’t appoint conservative senators that have just lost an election for MP. He can make all the excuses he wants (and Soudass and Tim Powers are spinning like a ballerina on this one), but at the end of the day, it did not need to be these three failed candidates. What is Harper saying to the regions these people represent? You do not want these people representing you, but I know better.

      Solution 2: don’t complain that premiers have a choice to elect senators that Harper will appoint because it’s a blatantly obvious end-run around the constitution. If Harper wants reform, then he should give it a shot. If he can’t get it through, then leave it alone. Stop side-stepping our founding document to achieve your own ends.

      Solution 3: Stop acting like what John Ibbitson says is gospel. The man is hoping for one of the last appointed senate seats himself. I don’t give a damn that Harper might hurt the press gallery’s feelings if he doesn’t answer questions. I give a damn because I don’t have the time to go ask questions of the PM myself, so I rely on reporters to ask about issues of the day.

      • intrep says:

        “…..our founding document…..”……surely you jest!! The current Constitution was not what we founded this country on. It is simply a document that represents the mess Trudeau left this country in once his ego was satisfied in “bringing it home”.

        • Dave says:

          Huh? The parts of the Constitution concerning the Senate date from 1867 and from the Pearson-era abolition of life appointments.

      • JH says:

        Some of you folks on here with the name-calling could take a lesson from WK. He turns criticisim or differing views aside with a little humour, a little sarcasm and never gets down and dirty unless it’s a really outrageous attack on himself or his views. That kind of discourse keeps the conversation going. The alternative is what turned folks off on what is percieved as Liberal arrogance. Some of your are still practicing it and win no converts by it.
        Many folks stopped paying dues and became uninvolved because of this. We now decide on a case by case basis and vote likewise. Thus we ask, as I did, simply what can any pm do with no will in the provinces to re-open the constitution. Although Bob Plamadon did have a good suggestion about a referendum. In the meantime as long as this remains a free and open forum I’ll keep posting, despite the arrogance and nastiness. Have a good evening now.

      • Craig Chamberlain says:

        Thumbs Up for your post, Ed.

  2. Bill M. says:

    The argument during the campaign was for a stable government. The missing part was a stable government isn’t worth it when the policies are wrong.

    But no matter, the CPC supporters look past this again because Steve-O can do no wrong.

    Run a huge deficit, no matter, we told you we’re fiscal conservatives.

    Expand the size of government, no matter, we told you we’re for smaller government.

    Buy GM, no matter, we told you we’re all about survival of the fittest.

    Intervene to stop the Potash deal and still limit the amount Canadians can bring back from the US, no matter, we told you we’re all about free market competition.

    I know why I think Harper is a douche. I don’t understand why his supposed base doesn’t.

    • Dave says:

      Don’t worry… eight or nine years, which is how long the Harpies will be in power by 2014-2015, is usually when people start rubbing the wool out of their eyes.

      I’ll bring the beer, you bring the popcorn.

  3. Bill M. says:

    A favorite of mine was Larry Smith crying about taking his catastrophic pay cut to join the senate.

    He’ll get his 132K for being a rubber stamp, he’s part owner of Westmount Moving

    And he can still participate in any number of business ventures while in the senate.

    Larry, brother, I weep for your fiscal situation!

  4. Warren, not that Harper’s senate appointments are not worthy of comment, but….Doug Saunders has a useful piece in the weekend Globe on the global demise of centrist parties. http://tiny.cc/c5ofo –What do you make of this?

    This is gonna be a very long 4 years, and when we are done the institutional damage will be immense

    • Rick T. says:

      I have to correct you , it is going to be a very long eight years for the Liberals and NDP.

      What damage are you talking about? Electing Senators to term limits, finally getting the Crime Bills passed, not imposing a Carbon Tax, to mention a few.

      • Dave says:

        The same Crime Bills that the Tories never bother trying to pass in the first place, and then bitched about them being “held up”?

  5. RN200 says:

    Guys, really. He had to get a conservative majority in place in the senate in time to get all the senate committee chairmanships favourably re-appointed post-election, so the conservatives could control the timing and flow of hearings and votes and prevent your pals from gumming up the works. It may be cut-throat and efficient, but it has nothing to do with just “giving you the finger”.

    • Missed the point again Mr/Mrs RN200.

      Ranting about Liberal corruption and then re-appointing losers to the Senate is the issue.

      • RN200 says:

        OK, yeah I get it – it’s not that he did the appointments with that timing, it’s that he did THOSE appointments. I still don’t think they sat down and asked themselves “How can we maximize the pissed-offed-ness of the media and the opposition?” More likely the were just plain lazy at worst or too gassed after the campaign to properly work at it. Granted, not a good way to do things, but I’m still doubting deliberate malice.

    • Michael says:

      Then just have the balls to say so. Don’t take the cowardly way out, slipping out a press release AFTER you have gone in front of the news media.

      What did he have to loose? He has 5 years of unfetterd power. What was the worst that could have happened if he had made the announcements before he went in front of the news media? Or was he afraid of his own words being used against him in an attack ad?

    • Dave says:

      Former MP Marlene Jennings repeatedly offered to have a bunch of the Tory crime bills passed at all stages immediately. The Tories – HARPER’S PARTY – kept denying the motion.

    • Attack! says:

      @RN200: Bah. If it WASN’T a matter of Harper making another one of his passive-aggressive ‘I think I make the rules around here’ FU statements to the media, his critics, and the non-CPC voting (or indeed even the whole) electorate, then he could have:

      1) had the courtesy to explain this himself, in his own press conference, rather than deliberately announce it via email the moment he left that presser; and,

      2) appointed the 3 OTHER CPC-obedient he presumably had on deck for that purpose: after all, he’s supposedly the 3-D Chess Master, and thus would know he needed to make these appointments right after the election and should have had a contingency plan in case these 2 revolving door Senators actually won their seats as MPs, and surely it was at least possible that Josee Verner would regain her seat, even with the Nordiques / Stadium debacle.

      @ some of the other Harper apologists / bootlickers / apple polishers / Upper Level Scientologists, who maintain that evidently there’s something these particular people bring to the table to warrant reappointing them:

      Bah. First of all, there’s little evidence that the Harper of today WANTS any performance out of his Senators at all apart from rubberstamping or vetoing bills according to whipped votes at his behest. They’re little more than $132,000 a year autopens for him, now.

      Second, what have these 3 in particular demonstrated in terms of valuable Senatorial skills (apart from voting on command)?

      Near as I can tell, Larry Smith’s only job in public office to date was to: use his profile — and a Senate salary — to get elected as an MP in English speaking Montreal to wrest a seat away from the Libs. And he failed at that.

      And Verner’s was to increase the CPC’s power base in QC; she succeeded in 2006, but squandered that with the ill-fated ‘bribe them with the ROC’s money for an NHL arena’ gambit which threatened seats IN the ROC due to the backlash from genuine fiscal conservatives, and she ended up LOSING all 6 of those QC-city area seats, did she not, and now there’s a lot of mutual ill-will, so I don’t see her as much of an asset at all.

      And Manning? Well, he couldn’t deliver / regain any seats in NL (not even his own) even though the ‘ABC’ campaign is over and even during the biggest rout of the LPC party, ever, he, um, lost to a Liberal.

      So if those ‘power brokers’ are the best the CPC can do, that sends a pretty bad message to YOUR base, LOL.

      But if it’s supposedly on the basis of their great administrative acumen, for what they can actually do in the Senate, well, I’m dubious of that, too.

      After all, Smith was new to the job, and was busier campaigning than learning, and probably wasn’t even expected to BE in the Senate job that long since it was almost immediately announced that he’d be running for MP, so he’s not a proven commodity and it’s questionable that he was ever expected to be a good Senate performer.

      And Verner? Sure, she was given a lot of roles to increase her profile, but can anyone really remember what they were, or any accomplishments from them? The only one her Wiki profile talks up is the Copyright bill she helped develop in 2008…. you know, the one that STILL hasn’t been passed.

      And Manning? Bit of a cipher, at least to me. And again, in his interview yesterday, he’s signalling that he intends to run as MP again, so this is just all about placeholding.

  6. Africon says:

    So Bill are you saying that the Libs and presumably you were against expanding the size of government ? ( I know I was and if that continues now with a majority, I will no longer vote Con ).
    Are you saying that you were against buying GM ? I know I had my misgivings about that one but do not feel qualified to have a strong opinion.
    Are you saying that you thought that the government should not have intervened in the Potash deal ?

    I do know I get pissed every time I have to pay double for dairy products and that inter Provincial trade here is just dumb – fix THAT part of free trade first, I say.

    Three simple questions – would appreciate 3 simple, yes or no answers from you.
    Carry on.

    • Bill M. says:

      Assume you are directing those at me.

      I am against bigger government, was against bailing out GM and I feel the Potash deal should have been allowed.

      And I’m not a CPC supporter, more center right LPC.

      But my point is that left oriented governments are the ones that push state interventionism.

      Harper has been that…on steroids.

      How his base comes to terms with their own cognitive dissonance is amazing to watch.

      You got your answers?

      • Africon says:

        Thank you Bill.

        Libs like you are the reason why I believe that a merge with the NDP would not work.
        It is also why IF SH now makes real moves towards smaller Government, he will get a second term and if not, may not.

        It is difficult for ANY reasonable and rational citizen to come to terms with ANY politician.
        So one is left with the best of the worst.

  7. Cynical says:

    Stephen Harper: Never take the high road when the low road is open.

  8. Dan F says:

    What would really embarrass Harper would be if Dalton openly mused about electing Senators in Ontario while the NDP refused to participate. An elected Senator from Ontario would most likely be Liberal, and Harper would have no choice but to appoint him. Warren for Senate? That would be a fun campaign.

    • Africon says:

      Right, so have the damned election and THEN if SH does not appoint the winner of that election THEN and only then should the complaints begin and rightfully so.
      But all of this speculative whining is just so pointless.

      Who knows, once Sh has a comfortable Senate majority he just might start appoint NDP Senators ( instead of Liberals ) after all, he did appoint Gary Doer to be Ambassador to the US.

      • Jonathan W. says:

        Paul Martin tried exactly that, appointing an “NDP” senator on his own just because. The NDP held its line on Senate abolition and didn’t invite the senator, neuroscientist and lapsed member of the Saskatchewan NDP Lillian Dyck, to caucus with them. She now sits as a Liberal.

    • Loraine Lamontagne says:

      Harper would have the choice to appoint or to not appoint an elected Senator. Paul Martin refused to elevate Alberta senators-in-waiting who were chosen by electors. Under Harper’s plan, he and future PMs would have the power to appoint whoever they wish. The PMs power to recommend appointments would remain intact, just like the power to ask for dissolution of parliament in the fixed elections date law remains intact.

      A real leader would take this opportunity to convene a meeting of the provincial premiers and discuss this. Quebec? IMO, better now than with the next premier. We are not calling things by their proper name – Senate reform, a selection process for SCC judges, fixed elections date law, it’s all the same thing: the powers of the prime minister. So, will Harper ever convene a meeting of the provincial premiers to diminish or frame the powers of the prime minister? Of course not! If he is trying to establish a convention, so far only Alberta is willing to hold senatorial elections.

    • Attack! says:

      Bah! Your misguided hero-worship aside, an elected Senate is one of those ‘Careful what you wish for’ things that Harper has learned ^NOT to implement — or, at least, to systematically neuter &/or fail to act on if it WAS implemented (like the Accountability Act & the various watchdogs he’s defunded, sidelined, and ignored) — since it would frustrate his wishes and cramp his style as PM if allowed to do its job properly.

      He wouldn’t have appointed elected QC & NL senators-in-waiting now, if there’d been any, since they most likely wouldn’t be CPC supporters, and the immediate goal was to lock in that 10 seat Senate majority.

      And if, say, the Queen could wave her magic sceptre and get all the Premiers together to amend the Constitution to abolish the Old Senate and enact a new EEE Senate and do all the elections over the next year or so, he wouldn’t want to do that, either…. cuz, as the blogger http://sixthestate.net/?p=1868 explains, he most likely wouldn’t get a CPC majority, which would hamstring him.

      And why should McGuinty or the other Premiers expend resources and political capital running Senate elections just for the sake of proving him to be a hypocrite?

      That’s not their job (it’s ours, and the media’s!); it’s not their agenda; there are reasons an elected Senate might be worse than both the existing one or no Senate at all; and as another Lib or Prog blogger just pointed out, it would compete with and possibly undermine their own roles in advocating for their region.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Has anyone been able to figure out why they couldn’t wait until Friday or spread out the Senate appointments over the summer? Why on the same day? How dumb of a communications strategist do you have to be to think that that would work?

    • RN200 says:

      Look at my post at 10am for your answer on timing.

    • Dave says:

      Two words: long weekend.

    • Craig Chamberlain says:

      Spreading them out would be the worst way to do it, given who has been named. Just when folks are cooling down from the last appointment of someone who was turned down by the folks who best know them, you do it again? And again?! Talk about causing a wound to fester!

      But it’s done. Folks will forget about it. Just too bad one of the leaders didn’t providentially challenge PMSH on the fate of those candidates should they lose, during the leadership debates. Would have been good to see PMSH lie on that one.

      Anyhow, A BIG THANK YOU to Stephan Harper for reminding me of why I don’t support Proportional Representation. If you can’t get the support of the people who best know you, you don’t deserve to be an MP.

  10. Tiger says:

    It’s very easy to defend appointing three or four Conservative senators now to lock up control of the chamber & its committees, as senators are known to go off free-lancing. (Or, heck, twelve or thirteen, using the Queen, as Mulroney did.)

    It’s very difficult to defend appointing those three defeated candidates.

  11. Ed says:

    What I can’t believe is that Akin just announced that the Conservatives have made Marjorie LeBreton the second in charge, should anything bad happen to Harper and he cannot lead. Are you serious? Did he really just make someone who got a patronage appointment the back-up to lead this country? I’m a Lib. who believes in an unelected senate and that pisses me off. This is just as bad as what went on Wednesday, which is why it’s no shocker it was released on the Sunday of a long weekend.

  12. Sean says:

    The senate appointments… Peter MacKay fighting Jason Kenney over leadership rules… A hundred backbenchers wondering what the hell they are being paid for… The general feeling that they are in by default for 8-12 years… Boy oh boy do these guys ever look a helluva lot like the Liberal party circa 2000…

  13. DJ says:

    Harper could soften the partisan blow of appointing his hacks, bagmen, and failed politicans by appointing some independent senators once in a while–distinguished Canadians whose service would be valuable in Parliament. Chretien and Martin did some of this.

  14. wannabeapiper says:

    Please be advised…when I am King, I am abolishing the Senate forthwith and replacing it with a Tim Hortons franchise, which I think is more usefull and, when Warren Kinsella is the leader of the Liberal Party, he will be expected to wait his turn in the drive through. As far as Mr Harper is concerned, well, “no coffee for you”!

  15. Mark in Ontario says:

    PM Harper promised no Senator cabinet ministers this time and he delivered. We weren’t supposed to have had an election until October 2012 so PM Harper was justified in re-appointing Manning and Smith back to the Senate to continue their role there. Verner has been very valuable to PM Harper in the Cabinet and obviously wants her to be in the Government, although not in Cabinet this time. Her mission will be the same as it was in the beginning…winning in francophone Quebec.

    These Senate appointments are yet another faux-scandals about process that nobody but the Toronto elite media cares about.

  16. fritz says:

    I see the Senate appointments as savvy politics. Harper is stacking the deck and getting all his hack rewards done now while the NDP and Liberals are in disarray and he doesn’t really care what voters think because it is at least four years till the next election and no one will remember any of this crap then.

    I expect lots more of this BS over the next year as Harper stacks the diplomatic core (I read Lawrence Cannon is off to Paris), government boards & agencies and politicizes the judiciary with party loyalists, election losers and Tory bagmen. Down east here in NS I expect loser Cecil Clarke to get major appointment as a reward for giving up his provincial seat to take on Mark Eyking. After all it’s only fair.

  17. re says:



    control frick and lie to people and change law and do something ethically is right called abuse of power
    we have contemt court
    we have abstract to court and HOUSE
    we have harrass Muslim over Israel put muslim Canadian and jewish candian in treat

    we can not do anything we want to do

  18. myntje says:

    These are people he knows and trust. He has a specific job he wants them to do. He knows they’ll do it. They’re all as accomplished as any other senator. Enough said.

  19. Bell says:

    Liberals should just keep complaining about process issues and things they did and everyone knows they will do again if they had the chance versus coming up with new ideas and something the party believes in. It has worked so well for the party so far.

    • Attack! says:

      Uh-huh; thanks for that, Tinker. And Harper and his minions should just keep doing all the things they complained about the Liberals doing until their Party becomes indistinguishable from the bad old LPC in all but name. After all, being that haughty, dismissive, and impervious to criticism has worked out well for the LPC so far.

  20. Phil in London says:

    Please, there were bigger bombshells in my backyard fire works display for old Bag from England day.

    They’re all experienced in the procedures of the Hill. They give Quebec and Newfoundland representation and they will co-operate with the government on parliamentary reform.

    At last count WK has uttered the phrase “look what happens with a Conservative Majority” “I told you so” or “here we go down the road of…” 983,762 times since election day and there hasn’t been squat that has changed.

    He’s the boss, tis the way it worked when the little schmuck from Shawinigan was in charge. Get used to it. Even WK would have to admit this is classic Chretien, set off a stink bomb same time as you unveil cabinet. No one will be talking about either issues this time next week.

    Chretien and Martin appointed only four opposition senators between them in 92 tries – you can’t really count the Dipper that crossed the floor to the Liberals.

    The “non-partisans” are a joke given the Chretien willingness to insult the nation with any appointment possible.

    I can’t wait to see the mock outrage when the carpet and paint the senate blue and say good riddance to the heavilly stacked former red chamber!

    • Dave says:

      You mean, when the red chamber becomes heavily stacked in the way you prefer?

    • Derek Pearce says:

      So basically, as with everything Harper does, it always comes back to two wrongs making a right. Got it.

      • Phil in London says:

        No, the point is it isn’t a real story. It’s a bunch of bitching and moaning Liberals still playing gotcha politics instead of moving on an rebuilding a party that would attract a centrist vote. It’s never been an issue for Liberal supporters before because they were always getting the appointments. Instead of judging the administration on the baby steps take a while and wait for the big picture to develop before screaming and moaning about somethign that is not a big deal. If they don’t deliver on Senate reform than it is a problem. You guys have four years to get your own crap pile levelled out, use it and be a little less quick to judge.

        • Attack! says:

          Not a real story? Nonsense. It is, and it’s played in virtually all the media for a number of days, now. A major elected politician’s blatant hypocrisy on a core issue is always worthy of at least some notice.

          And by no means is this confined to only the odd Liberal commenter*: this has attracted both attention and scorn — or at least some degree of attempted apologizing — from not only all stripes of media & commentators but also all the Parties…. including among old Reformers.

          * (and, ahem, this is the War Room, run by a particular individual, and frequented mainly by people either outside of or on the outs with the Lib. party; that’s what he does here, regardless of what else the actual Party may or may not be doing, so it’s pretty ridiculous to complain that the Party should just grin and bear it and shut up and rebuild itself first before venturing to criticize the Gov’t, which is, ahem, hardly new, but is actually starting it’s THIRD term, now).

          What bugs me is how dark blue ex-Libs like you and ‘The Doctor’ are still coming here scolding WK for being uppity and trying to ride herd on the Libs…

          apparently operating from the view that the LPC should be seen and not heard, and just stay the course as ‘Manley Liberals,’ and wait in the wings like understudies — and, most importantly, keep themselves free of junkfood socialism — so that you can call them up again, if need be (anything but the NDP!), when your team all winds up in jail or betrays the public’s trust one too many times.

          Well, to Hell with that. I want the Opposition to do its job, of criticizing and opposing what’s hypocritical and wrong. And I want policies and a government that are best for the country, not what’s best for certain people who are more worried about their profits and taxes than anything else.

        • Philip says:

          Actually that was your point. Harper’s two wrongs will always equal a right in your eyes. Fair enough but just admit it, don’t project your own motives on to the Liberal Party. We lost, remember?
          Steve Harper spent decades writing and arguing against what he has just done. But you and the rest of the Conservatives who have posted are OK with this blatant hypocrisy because Stephen Harper did it. Like those who waited for the Rapture you folks just keep on hoping that one day Stephen Harper will actually deliver on his promises. In a very funny way you remind me of Charlie Brown always hoping to actually kick that football and Harper as Lucy who keeps yanking the ball away at the last second. At least Charlie Brown can experience doubt and has the awareness to question why he keeps rewarding Lucy’s behavior, Conservatives not so much. Dismiss this as sour grapes or more “bitching and moaning” if you want but at least have the courage to be honest here. Senate reform died with these appointments and you know it.
          I’m curious to know how you Conservatives square the extra $9,000,000 a year to fund Harper’s larger Cabinet? Do you really need a Deputy Minister of Defense? I actually thought Peter MacKay has done a very good job with that file. Why does he need a DM? Further more any thoughts on the huge pay jump for all political staff a of April 1st? Or is it simply OK because it was done at Harper’s bidding?

      • Dave says:

        Or, as is inscribed in Latin over the Harper PMO, “Liberals did it too!”

  21. Liz J says:

    So a Conservative PM appointed three Conservative senators to fill vacancies. If it hadn’t been these three would there not still be hooting and gnashing of teeth?

    Frankly my dears, I don’t give a damn.

    • Attack! says:

      The Butler did it… first, and better, and only after being jerked around the one he adored for over a decade.

      Whereas you’ve only been jerked around for half that long and you’re using the line to dismiss the ones who are trying to put you wise to your abuser of trust, rather than on the abuser himself.

      See you in five years, by which time maybe you’ll at least have grown up enough to live up to the last part of another one of Rhett’s lesser-known, but more apt, quotes:

      “Because we’re alike. Bad lots, both of us. Selfish and shrewd. But able to look things in the eyes as we call them by their right names.”

  22. Greg says:

    I am very upset about this. These three people should not have been appointed.

  23. Mandos says:

    The free-market bit has always been a lie and a distraction. The right believes in free markets the way MacDonald’s believes in its “side” “salads.” No one would *actually* choose to live in a “free market”, least of all libertarians—it’s just to whom and how the subsidies are structured that differs. That is because the market itself requires violence to create, at its root.

  24. patrick Deberg says:

    Phil in London,

    Here’s the petard one has been hoisted on. Tories,” We will end the liberal way of doing things” until as soon as we are in charge. ” Forever we will do things different from the Liberals ” until we are the liberals……………………

  25. Mark in Ontario says:

    The big lesson of the 2008 Coalition was it was a mistake to leave Senate vacancies unfilled. If Dion and Layton had succeeded in forming a government, even for a couple of weeks, they would have filled the Senate with Liberal and NDP hacks (and Elizabeth May) so when Harper took power again, he would have faced a perpetual opposition majority in the Senate. A Liberal majority in the Senate would have been the Liberals survival strategy post-May 2, 2011. One could have asked: “why is the Liberal Party still relevant? Because they control the Senate”.

    As it is the Liberal caucus in the Senate is bigger than their caucus in the House of Commons. And the Official Opposition (“the government-in-waiting”) has nobody in the Senate. Despite their shellacking, the Liberals still have some cards to play – for one thing they are still the “Official Opposition” in the Upper Chamber. That’s worth something.

    Harper is not perfect. He does make mistakes. But not twice. He won’t be shamed into NOT making Senate appointments. Too politically risky. As for Messrs Manning and Smith, well, they were Senators before the unnecessary election, and now they are Senators after the unnecessary election. Big deal. And Mme Verner has been a Parliamentarian for years and a key member of Harper’s Quebec caucus, and now she is still a Parliamentarian (but in the Upper Chamber this time) and a key member of Harper’s Quebec caucus. Tant pis.

    I fail to see where the outrage in this.

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