Harper finally finds a use for the Senate: appoint the candidates he wants for the next election

Harper finally finds a use for the Senate: appoint the candidates he wants for the next election

The Canadian Senate (Image: scazon) 

Stephen Harper’s love affair with the unelected Senate—you know, the one he ran against in previous elections—gets more torrid with every passing week. This week brings the news that the Conservatives finally have an absolute majority in the Senate, after appointing two new men to the Red Chamber: Toronto pastor Don Meredith and former CFL commissioner Larry Smith.  According to the Globe and Mail, this is all part of the Conservative master plan to break into seat-rich urban territories.

[Meredith] is also a faithful Conservative, parachuting into Toronto Centre in a hopeless bid to prevent Bob Rae from winning the by-election that sent him to Parliament. By pushing aside a more socially liberal Tory hopeful, Mr. Meredith managed to drag the Conservative vote in the riding down to 12 per cent, behind even the Greens.

He did his cause no good by making potentially controversial statements in an interview with Toronto Xtra, a gay newspaper. Toronto’s gay village is within the riding.

“It’s the right of individuals to choose their orientation,” Mr. Meredith said in a January, 2008, interview. Homosexuality, especially among homosexuals, is seen as an orientation and not a choice.

So the Conservative master plan for the GTA involves anchoring their hopes to a man who thinks homosexuality is a choice, and who once finished behind the Greens. While Toronto’s politics have been kind of topsy-turvy lately, somehow we have a hard time seeing the genius here. Unless, of course, the Conservatives think that the late-hour homophobia that we saw during the mayoral election was what clinched it for Rob Ford—which, given his margin of victory, would also be stupid.

The whole idea of the Tories planning for a majority—earlier this week, they leaked a wish list of 190 seats they think are in play for the next election—reminds us of nothing so much as the gloating Liberals were doing around 2003 about how legendary Paul Martin was going to be in the next election. It turned out that the electorate had other ideas.

• Tories hope anti-gang fighter’s appointment to Senate will pay dividends [Globe and Mail]
• Larry Smith, Don Meredith named to Senate [Toronto Star]
• Tories prepare to mount full offensive in Toronto ridings in next election [The Hill Times]