Monday, December 22, 2008

Senate-palooza notes

Just a few notes then off to dinner...

1. Check out this headline,"Harper makes history by naming 18 senators in one day," putting the appropriate stamp on the day. For fun, click on the picture of Duffy and drag it to your desktop. Then read the label some CP or canoe staffer affixed to it...:)

2. A few points from this Canwest report. With respect to Marjory LeBreton's points...
Conservative Senator Leader Majory LeBreton said in an interview Mr. Harper will fill another 11 vacancies by the end of 2009, bringing the Conservative total to 49. Eight Liberal seats will become vacant by retirements during the year.

Ms. LeBreton said the 49-50 split, with six independents, will make passage of Senate reform likelier as soon as the end of 2009.
Remember that there is opposition in the provinces to Senate reform of the variety Harper is proposing, so to turn the Senate is but one leg of many that need to be in favour. Secondly, 18 Senators today, plus 11 more in 2009 and throw in Bert Brown and that will be 30 Senate appointments from Mr. minority parliament PM since 2006 (not counting Fortier, who's gone). A historic frenzy of patronage from a politician so steeped in Reform roots. Well done.

Also from the Canwest report, this is awfully young for a Senate appointment:
Patrick Brazeau became the youngest person, at age 34, to get a Senate appointment. He is the leader of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, a strong supporter of the Harper government who frequently challenges the Assembly of First Nations headed by Phil Fontaine.

Finally from this report, a reminder of how much this will cost, in comparison to say the $30 million or so Harper wanted to cut from political parties in his economic update:
...the 18 new senators would reap about $50 million in pay and perks over their eight-year appointments...
3. And one last thought for this post...what does this say about CTV at the moment? That one of its highest profile television journalists so soon after an election accepts one of the highest profile political patronage positions that there is, as a Conservative Senator. CTV will wear this and it does not speak well of a supposedly independent journalistic enterprise. The questions about quid pro quos are obvious. Look back at this incident then today's appointment, and irrespective of any linkage, the appearance is there. It's not good.