Le Blogue Broadbent

Stephen Harper’s Senate meltdown

Stephen Harper just can’t catch a break on the slow-motion disaster that has become the Senate of Canada. 

Facing a lengthy suspension (without pay), Mike Duffy’s lawyer has come forward to share details of just how knee-deep the Prime Minister’s Office was in Duffy’s affairs.

It makes sense. Duffy was appointed to the Senate to travel the country on behalf of the Conservative Party on the public’s dime. No wonder there was an entire binder of Duffy’s whereabouts in the PMO

Duffy’s never-ending scandal only distracts, fleetingly, from another one of the Senate’s enfants terribles. Pamela Wallin, another PMO problem that won’t go away, beat Duffy to the punch by dispatching her lawyer to attack the move to suspend her (without pay).

The push to suspend Duffy and Wallin, along with Patrick Brazeau, isn’t going so smoothly.

The Senate’s dirty little secret – a public institution that pays for party hacks to do partisan work – is now out.

The burn for Harper? Not all senators are playing along.

Conservative Senator Hugh Segal has already said he can’t support the motion, up for debate on Tuesday.

This isn’t the first time Segal has been a thorn in Harper’s side. Not long ago, Segal spearheaded a mini mutiny in the Senate by gutting a draconian union disclosure law. Segal is also a big booster of a guaranteed annual income to tackle poverty, and he talks it up as often as he can.

Didn’t Segal get the memo? Harper just can’t catch a break with this unelected body, best described as “a relic of the 19th century.” (h/t Harper circa 2005).

Maybe things would be different if Harper had kept his word. In 2004, Harper said he “would not name appointed people to the Senate.”After he was elected in 2006, Harper went on an appointment spree, naming 57 (so far).

Photo: urbanmixer. Used under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 2.0 licence.