For the last two years, Stephen Harper has claimed that he is "delaying," not refusing to appoint Senators. On Friday, he said -- unequivocally -- that he was refusing to appoint Senators. Campbell Clark writes:
The government is already fighting a court case brought by a Vancouver lawyer, Aniz Alani, who argues that Mr. Harper’s refusal to appoint senators over the past two years, and the PM’s statements that he doesn’t see any need to fill the vacancies, amounts to a breach of his constitutional duty. The Constitution states that the Governor-General “shall” appoint senators, and by convention, the viceroy only does that on the advice of the PM.
In that case at the Federal Court, the government has been filing materials to back up an argument that Mr. Harper is delaying appointments, not refusing them. They include an affidavit from McGill political science professor Christopher Manfredi, who declared that there’s no constitutional convention that dictates how much time PMs have to appoint senators, and they can take their time. But refusing to appoint senators?
“Certainly, at some stage, senators have to be appointed,” Federal Court Justice Sean Harrington wrote in May, when he rejected the government’s motion to dismiss Mr. Alani’s case. He noted that if there were less than 15 senators, the required number for quorum in the chamber, Parliament could not function. (Mr. Alani argues the Constitution requires Mr. Harper to appoint senators, and refusing to do so defeats constitutional provisions guaranteeing levels of representation to provinces.)
But he's gone one step further. The provinces, he says, are responsible for the whole mess. Until they can get their act together, there will be no appointments. This from the man who has never met with the provinces to discuss Senate reform and who -- for the last six years -- has refused to meet with the provinces at all.
It's typical Harper balderdash -- shift responsibility. There is, you know, no made in Canada recession. It's the fault of international markets. He really does think we're stupid.