Today, in a demonstration of possibly the most arrogant act in Canadian political history, Stephen Harper announced the appointment of three senators. These were Josee Verner, Larry Smith and Fabian Manning. What was so arrogant about this?
First, considering the Mr. Harper has gone on record on numerous occasions against the actual existence of the Senate, he has appointed more members to it than any prime minister in Canadian history. Secondly, the three members appointed were people rejected by voters less than three weeks ago in the election. Basically, these nice patronage appointments were cheerfully handed out to “Capital L” losers.
Lastly, two of these losers’ names should be very familiar. Fabian Manning was elected to the riding of Avalon in Newfoundland in 2006, taking the seat formerly held by John Efford who had retired. However, Manning was beaten by Liberal, Scott Andrews in October 2008 and was appointed shortly afterward to the Senate by Stephen Harper. He resigned his Senate seat to run in the same riding in the May 2nd election, but was soundly defeated by Scott Andrews again. In short, Manning is a two-time loser who left his senate seat to get his arse beaten, only to be reappointed before his cushion even cooled off.
Larry Smith should also be familiar. He was formerly a defensive halfback with the Montreal Alouettes and eventually was hired as club president. He was appointed to the Senate in December 2010. His tenure was quite short, as he resigned his seat in March to run in the May 2nd election, as well. He, also, was beaten in the election but was reappointed to his Senate chair today. Larry Smith, of course, was famous for his remarks after his appointment in December that his Senate salary of $132,300 base was a hardship and he would find it difficult to live on that amount. I guess he’s just going to have to go back to biting the bullet again.
All told, with the salary (a large percentage of which is untaxed), the many perks, the guaranteed job security to age 75 and the gold-plated pension plan, no real Canadian wants to abolish the Senate. Why would we, when most of us would love to be appointed to it…