May 262013
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Fan letter cheers Harper's stealthy erosion of Senate.

by Stephen Kimber

Dear Stephen Harper,

Congratulations! I never imagined in my wildest imaginings even you could be quite this Machiavellian.  Appointing Mike Duffy, the long-time pretend senator from CTV, an actual Senator from Prince Edward Island? Genius.

Pamela Wallin, the queen of political TV, Senator for Air Canada? You had to know. You did, didn’t you?

Some may suggest adding to the upper chamber the likes of Patrick Brazeau (pony-tailed pugilist wannabe, alleged sexual assaulter and expense cheat) and Pierre Hughes Boisvenu (“victims’” rights advocate who still lists his ex-wife’s Quebec home as his primary residence to collect his Senate housing allowance while hiring his girlfriend as his communications officer) was gilding the lily. But I know you can never be too careful — not when the stakes are this high.

As you told your caucus last week, you “did not get into politics to defend the Senate.”

Your awful appointees have made the Senate so disreputable Canadians will soon force their politicians to find a way to get rid of it.

Some commentators suggested you just wanted to divert attention from the scandal and the role your top aide played in escalating it with his $90,000 petty-cash cheque. But we know better.

Those otherwise inexplicable appointments, their entitled-to-my-entitlements defence of the indefensible, their later attempts to obfuscate, cover up and shut up, even that cheque you didn’t know anything about, are all puzzle pieces in your master plan — to finally, once and forever, abolish the Senate.

That must be it. Otherwise…

I have watched the subtle evolution of your thinking.

From Triple-E Reform reformer to closet abolitionist. Back in 2006, after the then-Liberal dominated Senate blocked your plans to actually change the Senate, you traveled to Canberra, Australia, to muse aloud it must either change or, “like the old upper houses of our provinces, vanish.” Your officials helpfully noted this was the first time a Canadian prime minister had suggested — albeit far from home — abolition.

More recently, you stealthily included abolition as one of the options you asked the Supreme Court to consider.

It’s working, Stephen.

Your awful appointees have made the Senate so disreputable Canadians will soon force their politicians to find a way to get rid of it.

That’s not to suggest a few more awful appointments wouldn’t help the cause. As always, I’m willing to do my bit. You can reach me at…

About Stephen Kimber

Stephen Kimber is the Rogers Communications Chair in Journalism at the University of King's College in Halifax. He is an award-winning writer, editor and broadcaster.

His writing has appeared in almost all major Canadian publications including Canadian Geographic, Financial Post Magazine, Maclean's, En Route, Chatelaine, Financial Times, the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star and the National Post. He has written one novel — Reparations — and six non-fiction books. Website:

© Copyright 2013 Stephen Kimber, All rights Reserved. Written For:

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