Thursday, August 27, 2009

Harper's Senate appointments: "a sad little affair"

Don Martin on Harper's imminent Senate patronage orgy today:
An ideological politician who was disgusted at watching Parliament's upper house turned into a vote-stacking exercise, where only the faintest of sober second thoughts actually take place, Mr. Harper has turned ruthlessly partisan in making his Senate appointments, elevating party loyalty into a key consideration for the cushiest job on the Hill.
Despite all the spin you'll hear about the Liberals today, and the hockey card-like-trading of one Conservative Senate press person being equivalent to a Liberal press person and so on, and so on...this event is all about Mr. Harper today. Abandoning his long and loudly touted Senate principles that the hard core Reformer grew up on and rode to his party's leadership, they mean practically nothing now. But, but, but...we can't pass reform since the Liberals control the Senate...more nonsense. Provinces oppose Mr. Harper's view of an elected Senate as well (whatever it really is, no detailed offerings to see) and they'd have to pass it as well so the Senate reform canard is just that. What's amazing is that the Reform base still hangs in there with him, having been sold totally down the river. Must be something satisfying for them in the masochism.

It's an orgy of patronage, filling the place with chums. A thanks for all the help over the years kind of thing. Because that election is coming, Harper calculates. Maybe his one last kick at the Senate can, it's about nothing more, nothing less.