Harper’s Senate Power Move

[Editors Note: The Conservatives are already making plans to bring back hard-line crime legislation like Bill C-15. Go to WhyProhibition.ca, sign up, and get involved before they put us all behind bars.]

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has named five new senators, including former Ontario cabinet minister Bob Runciman, giving the Tories effective control in both houses of Parliament and greater sway over the legislative agenda.

Vim Kochhar, a businessman and disabled persons advocate, was also appointed for Ontario.

The other appointments were:

* Victims rights activist Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu for Quebec.
* Former provincial auditor general Elizabeth Marshall for Newfoundland and Labrador.
* Current Conservative MLA Rose-May Poirier for New Brunswick.

In filling the five vacancies, the prime minister gives his Conservative Party 51 members in the Senate, two more than the Liberals. Two Progressive Conservatives and three unaffiliated members hold the remaining seats in the 105-seat Senate.

While the Conservatives won’t have an absolute majority, the appointments give them plurality needed to exercise greater control over newly formed Senate committees.

Breakdown for 105-seat Senate

Liberal 49
Conservative 46*
Progressive Conservative 2
Independent or non-aligned 3
*(Will rise to 51 after five new Senators are sworn in)

The appointments marked the third time in a little more than a year that Harper has added members to the Senate. In December 2008, Harper named 18 new senators, and in August he appointed another nine members.
Opposition blasts appointments as ‘hypocritical’

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said the announcements go against the Harper government’s oft-stated goal to either reform the Senate into an elected body or abolish it.

“It?s incredibly hypocritical on his part,” said the Opposition leader. “He has broken his promise to reform the Senate and now he?s filling the Senate with his Conservative friends.”

David Christopherson, the NDP critic on democratic reform, called the appointments the continuation of “a farce” to see “who got the Cash-for-Life lottery tickets this year.”

Christopherson said the question of reforming or abolishing the upper house should be put to the public in a special referendum, but questioned whether the Conservatives or Liberals want such a vote.

Canadian Taxpayers Federation director Kevin Gaudet, an outspoken critic of the unelected nature of the Senate, said the appointments should be Harper’s last as prime minister.

“Now, with control of the Senate, this is the time for the prime minister to stick a fork in the ‘House of Pork.’ It is time to make senators elected and accountable,” he said in a statement.
Crime bill to be reintroduced in Senate

Harper said in a statement the new senators have pledged to support reforms to the Senate, including legislation to limit Senate terms to eight years.

“These new senators are committed to community safety and justice for the victims of crime,” the prime minister said in a statement.

“I look forward to working with each towards making our communities safer and protecting families from crime.”

Conservative Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said in a news conference in Ottawa on Friday the new senators were committed to the government’s crime legislation.

Nicholson also said the government planned to reintroduce Bill C-15, which imposed tougher sentences for serious drug offences, to the Senate in its original form, saying the bill before the House of Commons had been “gutted” by the opposition Liberals.
Politicians, advocates, make up appointees

The appointments continue the Conservative trend of selecting candidates with experience in politics. Three of the appointees have served as Conservative members of provincial legislatures.

Runciman has served as a member of provincial parliament in Ontario since 1981, and has acted as a cabinet minister under three premiers, as the head of public safety and as the solicitor general for the province.

Marshall was the auditor general of Newfoundland and Labrador for 10 years prior to her election as a member of the house of assembly in 2003.

Poirier, first elected in 1999, has served as minister of the Office of Human Resources in New Brunswick.

The appointment of Boisvenu is of note given the government framed the announcement around its tough-on-crime agenda.

Boisvenu founded a provincial association to help families of victims after his daughter Julie was killed in the summer of 2002. The 27-year-old woman was kidnapped and murdered by a man who had been released on parole.

India-born businessman Kochhar was cited for his role in creating the Canadian Foundation for Physically Disabled Persons and his work with a number of other charitable organizations.

Hover computer mouse over the boxes to see who’s sitting in the Senate.

– Article from CBC News.



  1. mgjscdhl on

    not shocking whatsoever. When special interest groups, political do-gooders don’t get enough votes or their way they fill whatever commitee with their friends or people on their side. When will these idiots understand we need prevention/education more than we need prisons. I hope the remaining and level headed people in senate will not introduce bills that trample on civil freedom.

  2. Anonymous on

    don’t get your hopes up

  3. Anonymous on

    Harper has got to go !! This is the act of a Dictator !!

    Webster calls a dictator “a ruler with absolute authority and supreme power” Does this sound like a person who will listen to the needs, concerns and desires of the Majority of Canadians.
    Lets get rid of this bum – Liberals & NDP need to force an election – Canadians need to get out & vote – a Green parliament would resolve this problem & many others – get rid of the “old boy” system !!!!!!!!!

  4. Anonymous on

    wow canada has officially gotten scarrier than the US in my view,,,, both govs’ needs to wake the fuck up , and look south (of the US Mex border that is) for the common sense view and way to do.
    I honestly had no clue canada had so little control over their gov. I really feel sorry for you guys, anyone want to move to argentina ?

  5. Pedro on

    Regarding “crime”… Federal Justice Minister Nicholson is a former Catholic school-district trustee… and like most religious extremists, is characterized by Intolerance and Punishment for those who don’t share his ‘beliefs’… lengthy Prison/Detention for horticulturists etc. What next – burning at the stake?

  6. Anonymous on

    harpers agenda:
    -build more prisons
    -throw more people in jail
    -be more severe with the young people
    -intensify the drug war
    -eradicate cannabis from canadian land
    -eradicate growers of cannabis from canadian land
    -eradicate cannabis growers from canadian land
    -do the exact opposite of the US when it comes to medical marijuana
    -negate the existence of the right to medicate with cannabis to all canadians
    -eradicate the maudits separatists from Quebec

    Notice to all new neo-nazis: join Harper
    Hail to you Steven “Hitler” Harper

  7. Anonymous on

    Harper is a Businessman first and doesn’t give a carp abou this Country.
    He Knows that his Bills will create a huge up cost in all illegal substances which he probably has been paid or will be paid from the aftermath.
    Essentially what he plans to do is open our country to the Feeding Frenzy of the Organized Crimes of the World.
    Soon after the level of crime will soar and violence as well becasue cost will be ridicules like New York which pays some $6000.00 for a Pound of Cannabis (Decent who knows).
    That one example, I imagine all substances will be affected this way.
    100,000 per male and 180,000 per female all the while it’s only 30,000/year to take care of our old people well.
    I’d say the elderly don’t even see how fucked over they are going to be when our country starts diverting large sums of cash towards this idiotic Bill Return while the Respect for the Old will be Mcdonalds and a newspaper and you should be happy with that.
    Fucking Hypocritical world..

  8. Ignored Voter on

    I often am dumbfounded sitting back passively watching this world and nearly all of its occupants get trampled on.

    Usually all I do is start thinking why is it like this, or maybe talk to other people about it, and how it could be done better with a focus on the common good instead of an ulterior motif. Rarely, I have the nerve to complain a little in with the mix.

    But, I got to thinking. Even though the world is being strangled with corporate monopolies on society resources and governments, the rest of the world is doing better than Canada, on all fronts. We, that is to say, our country, or perhaps, the running of it, the regulation of it, rather the control of it, is the absolute very most backward in the world when it comes to all modern issues. The people who claim to represent us talk more dishonestly, more misleadingly, with more spin. It is clear why, our economy is non existent. We as Canadians have come to expect a “quality of life” (taking for granted the fact that wealth has been and probably still is the easiest to come by in the world, despite an obvious shortage of gainful employment, wealth in a general sense). Canada’s economy is not self sufficient in the least bit, and it never has been, ever. This is the basic problem as it affects all of us. The money that exists in our economy, is, to but it bluntly, not really our own, it is not derive from the ammount of work we do in this country. We take for granted that this money streams into our system from the world’s greedy who seek to create with our natural resources, their very own “perfect eden of America”. Think for a moment of the “poverty” in 3rd world and “developing” countries, caused primarily by North American greed, waste, and gluttony. Now imagine if all of the other nations of the world were acting as irresponsibly as North America. Then imagine North America as a “3rd world” or “developing” nation, but multiply the level of inequality by the number of all the other NEW rich countries of the world, namely India and China (which the european ancestry has been jealous of for some perplexing reason since anyone can remember). Now North Americans, are making sure they control and get into the top seats in these socio-political-economic systems. Problem is technically we get all our wealth by underpaying the world and by resource depletion, we don’t really have anything of value to give them other than “protection” like a gangster. All we did was get them hooked on “our” “way of life” (read taking for granted what cannot be sustained). And now we will all have to fight over the resources, but the alternative is we use them up 10 times faster, polute the world 10 times faster, change the climate 10 times faster, and all the poeple of the world will be forced to pay 10 times as much for goods, because they are 10 times as scarce (supply and demand, new challenges, increased costs of operation), and we will be working for 10 times less “money” and 10 times worse “quality of life” per same unit of money, so maybe 100 times less net quality of life for the average North American compared to now, once it all evens out, if we continue in the same direction, and that direction is corporate-controlled (aka consumer based aka profit motivated) economy. Notice both the root problems are about greed consuming, and profiting. Legitimate necessity should not be confused with getting whatever anybody wants no matter how wasteful it is. Waste is what makes it worse. In case anyone thinks having disposable “goods” or commodities helps us all work more and get some richer so they can give us more jobs, do the math: A house must be rebuilt or repaired repeatedly so the boss of the contract to do the work gets most of the money, some trees happen to be killed and some other materials get thrown out and replaced with more (doubling the original use of materials, just for one reconstruction or repair), now you are out the cost of building it I ask you how much benefit of trickle down in the economy from the boss of the contract blowing the money on Cuban Cigars, Automobiles, Drugs, Imported Foods, etc. if any of that money even stays within the local economy I would be quite surprised if it last very long here before we never see it again, but for the sake of beauty we shall imagine that all these “wasteful” commodities were produced in or extracted from the local geographic region, all that happens is we require some more employees to work for what are relative to the incomes of the bosses of these operations (cars, cigars, etc.) slavery equivalent (in our economy wages). When I say wealth is easy to come by, I must also stress that though that maybe the case, the cost of living is probably the highest in the world, another way to say it is more VALUE than anywhere else in the world is swirling around right in front of our noses because of what and how we do things in Canada, but we as Canadians, in terms of necessities are in the worst position in the world to acquire these things. This system is only good for uber rich people, mainly those with international connections, the ones who deal import/export. They make all the money. The next rung on the ladder are domestic corporations, which incidentally also rely mainly on export for their operations to function. If we didn’t screw our land, and screw people out in the rest of the world, we couldn’t even afford to screw our own land for our own use, or screw our selves with crap to buy, because there would be no money. Our system has a big hole in it, and that hole is unsustainability, not just environmentally, but mainly in the economic sense. The problem lies in this, power in this countries economically speaking is concentrated in the hands of the corporations that are doing this fucked up thing. They aren’t about to loose their stake in our land, and their stake over our desperate loyalty to them. At every turn our government defends these practices as good for us, when it is the cause of not, the solution to our conflicting predicament.

    We need to get rid of “First Past the Poll” voting. And we need to get a real Democracy. We all think we have one, so let’s get serious, pull up our sleeves and get a Real Democracy, democratically, of course. We need to each vote, but it is even more important that we make sure our vote counts.

    Just a strange question. If we value everybody’s perspective? Why then have majority rules. If we have 51 people out of a 100 say for example we must pollute and destroy the planet or whatever any other politically charged issue, then why if we value the perspectives of all people, and that is fair, why then to the 51 get to say to the 49 people to go sit on their thumb? How is that valuing all perspectives, how is that incorporating all views?

    What is the lowest common denominator?
    Is that a better way to shape policy. What can be desired by all people. 100 out of 100, every single person, every group, all the poepl in every group, all of them all together. Part of the problem is this is what the purpose of our system is, this is what they all claim it is doing, but the process is the one that tells the 49 to sit on their thumb, so it is not quite always the way we wish to think of it. Yet this is the ultimate wish generally speaking, the problem is when goes sour when the 51 mistakenly believe they are better than or more privileged or some how otherwise superior to the 49, and think that the 51 deserve more things in life, more desires, more wealth, more demands and sometimes in those demands, the forget to ensure that fairness and equality of all people is at the top of the list shaping their desires. They say all people and they mean themselves. The work quite like the spanish inquisition in terms of determining the best interest of people who they do not bother to consult, they use principles that their own, and rules that they govern themselves by, (whether these are ultimately in the best interests of the whole planet or not) and they force them on people whom it may not be understood even, how the way of life works for those other people. So when it is all forced, maybe those other people’s way of life gets to stop working. The problem is some people think there is one way that works everywhere. That everyone should be motivated by the same interests. Unfortunately a tailor made approach is needed for each area and for each and all people. Some ground rules may be okay, if everyone agrees, but as you can see if 49 out of 100 do not agree then what you have is a war on those 49 by the 51, at least figuratively, and how is that fair, or equal. So the solution is to listen to not be at ods with others. And again there are plenty of people who will tell you, we must this and we must that because I said so because someone else said so, because because because, when deference is made away from the speaker and its like being in a Wal-Mart where nobody really knows what they’re talking about and everything it’s always the other departments responsibility, they go in circles, and in the end no real level of understanding is reached, clarity is illusory. I’ve been in Wal-Mart and been told, yes we have that, oh sure it’s in this department it’s in that department, if I continued believing in their ways of explaining something, I would have been there till the store closed. It is interesting, and I think the most important thing, that no one ever told me, yes I know where it is, I will take you to it, I know exactly what the TRUE answer is to your concern, never, not once, but they always gave the illusion that I was given an answer and they told me where to go, and they were “helping” me, and I would be happy because they did this good thing for me, it sounds nice, on the surface, but it’s a generic answer, they don’t really know anything other than how to give a generic answer, and if it’s something they know about like camera, or tv, or clothes, they might point you in the right direction, they only know the departments, nobody including the departments themselves knows what goes on inside them, they only know how to walk around in circles, just like you, take something off the shelf, and look at it and see if you want it, they are no more gifted than you or I. And it is my impression that experts are overrated, and that in all areas, competence has human limits, limited mainly by individual motivation, it should never be assumed without tangible proof that experts are competent simply because and for no other reason than they hold some degree of official title. Often people charged with official responsibility make excuses like, we can’t do that, or it’s not possible, or we all ready do this and that, and we do too much, what should be taken away from such an explanation, is they are unwilling to commit to the questioned interests, they have no intention of taking your concerns to heart, never assume that this is good enough. Fairness means no discrimination. The level of hypocrisy is amazing. We need to hold people accountable, we don’t need to just throw them out or something, we need to demand tangible solutions, and we need to demand absolute transparency to the detail, and we must not be forced to submit access to information requests, and censoring must not be tolerated, we must have the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help us “God?”.

    Petition for a real Democracy. Let people govern themselves, where it is their own by nature of necessity they’re personal responsibility, and for joint projects, let people co- operate. But not first past the pole. Also not vote for a party and first past the pole then the party chooses a dictator and the Queen’s representative says yes that just great, you know the Governor General has the legal authority required to change anything any which way but is on a technicality loyal to the Queen and in practice up till now anyway usually supportive of the wishes of the government, but does technically have the choice to approve or disapprove. Why is the head of state appointed? Why is it possible for more Canadians in total to vote for a certain party, and yet that party does not have a majority in the house of commons? How is that fair, is that an illustration of equality with the will of Canadians?

    Our failure to be simultaneously backward and forward thinking has a real potential to be our collective undoing, I fore one hope this does not come to pass. They don’t really need us to man their resource extraction operations, they can make huge robots and machines for that, artificial intelligence, complex programming, etc. For the value of the resources someone with that kind of wealth can easily afford such trivial expenses. They aren’t going to directly cut us out of the loop completely until we can fend for our selves some other way than to depend on this kind of stuff, it would just look too bad, and to be honest humans are cheaper, at least in the short term, and they’re easier to come by, at present.

    Petition for Real Democracy, for fair voting rights, .

    They are ignoring us. What gives? We’ll I for one am not sitting back and taking it up the tush without doing something constructive/creative about it.

    Fair voting!
    Fair politics!
    God help us, the conservatives aren’t going to.

    p.s. When the government breaks the law, why can they make up excuses to not be held accountable? Why is it all right?
    I also think it’s funny (in a weird funny way) that they say “we are making laws good for you” while they break the laws about how they should conduct their responsibilities, so they can violate the laws that protect us, and people are like, “eh, did you hear the one about, the present conservative gov’t is helping us, doing good for us, making laws better, making society better, finally its about time they did good for us, cool eh? you should be happy like me, let us keep them for ever, how I love the ruler, all hail the great ruler!” what is it about the quality of our collective consciousness’s awareness or accessibility makes it impossible for people to learn the nature of a system that has the real ability to deceive them, is there no benefit to ensuring our will is carried on, is there no advantage to ensuring absolute full and factual honesty be enforced. Why can the ministers give press releases that are designed to distract people from the honest breadth of what is being discussed, why must they rape our confidence. I feel like this conservative gov’t is violating the trust of Canadians. Why can’t we do anything politically? Why are we prevented from choosing if we want to keep the current government, do me and all my friends need to populate a bunch of towns and take over the vote but numbers, just to be able to have input into the process by becoming elected opposition or elected government? How ridiculous, what a dysfunctional and unfair system. I hope we can do better than this, they always say there’s nowhere else to go but up from here, but I just hope it is worth it to Canadians not to find out just how low we can go.

  9. Anonymous on

    You Canadians don’t even get to vote for your own government? Fuck that! I’d get out while I still could if that’s the case. I thought our American system sucked but Canada may be even more corrupt if that’s possible. Admittedly, I don’t know much about Canada but seeing as you guys have extremely high taxes, socialized health care, and apparently have no say in your government, you need to flee now before your dictatorship closes its borders to “protect” you.

  10. Anonymous on

    7% of the voting population voted for the green party in the last. There are 308(?) members of parliament. They never even came that close to even getting 1 out of 308 seats. 7% of the population was completely ignored that day.

  11. Anonymous on

    We need to have an uprising of the people, and have a grand ceremony on the top of parliamant hill and the death of this piece of shit excuse for a prime minister…fuck how about the entire government. I think a monkey would make for a better leader than this christian power-hungry fuck.