Just after his plane took off for a trip to Russia, Stephen Harper quietly appointed five more unelected and unaccountable friends to the Senate. Despite failing to pass any Senate reforms, he has pushed Conservative appointments to the upper chamber to over fifty.
“Stephen Harper once said: ‘An appointed Senate is a relic of the 19th Century.’ Well, we now know what century he’s living in,” said NDP Ethics critic Charlie Angus. “And Harper has got himself on the top ten list of most unaccountable Senator appointments by a single Prime Minister. It’s a shameful record of hypocrisy. ”
In 2004, Stephen Harper pledged: “I will not name appointed people to the Senate. Anyone who sits in the Parliament of Canada must be elected by the people they represent”.
“Stephen Harper is on the defensive, plagued by a series of scandals, ethical lapses and mismanagement by his ministers,” said NDP Deputy Ethics critic Alexander Boulerice. “He just doesn’t care how many promises he breaks or how many rules are bent or broken.”
New Democrats added that Harper could appoint 14 or more Senators before the next election – 65 appointments total – potentially putting him just behind Chrétien who made 75 patronage appointments to the upper chamber.