Wednesday, May 18, 2011

On gratuitous appointments

Following up on this post, let's note that there's one factor which makes Stephen Harper's latest Senate stacking even more of an embarrassment than his previous few rounds.

After all, Harper has tried to excuse his previous appointments by pointing to supposed obstruction (however fabricated) as creating a need to push for a party advantage in the upper chamber, while claiming that his new appointments are required to facilitate reform later on. But with his previous set of appointments, Harper's party had already reached a majority which allowed it to push through whatever legislation it wanted.

And if Harper temporarily lost that majority only because two of his previous appointments were using their publicly-funded positions as a launching pad for failed campaigns, that hardly seems to offer any excuse for reappointing them - particularly when he'd have once again reached a majority by September on retirements alone.

Which means that there's no excuse about needing to appoint more cronies in order to be able to pass legislation - whether related to Senate reform or otherwise. Instead, this is the most glaring example yet of patronage appointments for their own sake, with absolutely no pretense that they offer any greater ability to govern. And while it may not be much surprise that Harper is starting his first majority by replicating that pattern from his previous terms in government, the fact that he's managed to reach a new low in rewarding his cronies looks to confirm that a majority will only see more and worse of his previous partisan excesses.

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