Monday, December 22, 2008

Senate's Red Chamber becomes Porkers' Hall Of Shame - Prime Minister Stephen Harper appoints 18 Conservatives

This Christmas Canadians will now share two things from coast to coast - a hefty dose of snow and the smell of pork.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has appointed 18 new Conservative Senators this morning - a blatant violation of all his vaunted ideals for a "Triple E" Senate - elected, equal, effective.

It's telling that even now the Prime Minister's official government website makes no mention of the Senate appointments - but does feature his Christmas message to Canadians!

The real Christmas message is more clear from today's pork-fest though:

"We will say anything and do anything to stay in power and reward our friends and insiders - principles be damned!"

Many of the new appointees are outright Tory hacks - like Michael MacDonald, the vice-president of the Conservative Party, Fabian Manning, a Nova Scotia Conservative MP who was defeated in the last federal election, Suzanne Fortin-Duplessis, an ex-Conservative MP from the Brian Mulroney era and Conservative Party fundraiser Irving Gerstein.

Others are Tory-friendly media personalities like CTV's Mike Duffy and ex-CTV broadcaster Pamela Wallin.

BC Liberal Energy Minister Richard Neufeld has taken a dive into the trough, leaving Premier Gordon Campbell's government - where his major accomplishment has been to privatize public power and large chunks of BC Hydro. Neufeld was a federal Reform Party supporter who also sat as a BC Reform Party MLA in the past.

Yonah Martin is an unknown but ran unsuccessfully for the Conservatives in the last federal election.

Former Olympic skier Nance Greene Raine is the third Tory Senator from BC and on radio is admitting she is a Conservative Party supporter.

The federal Liberal Party should have nothing but praise for these appointments, despite the fact they are totally partisan, because the Liberals have shamelessly stacked the Senate with their own hacks for years.

There are only three solutions for the Senate - change it to an elected body; make appointments only through a multi-party public hearing process to find good candidates or abolish it altogether.

Here is the Prime Minister's news release with full - and sanitized - biographies of the lucky porksters, with British Columbia's appointments moved to the top for your convenience:

Backgrounder - Prime Minister's Office


British Columbia

Nancy Greene Raine,
O.C., OBC was Canada’s female athlete of the last century by the Canadian Press and Broadcast News. She won gold and silver medals in alpine skiing at the 1968 Grenoble Olympics and overall World Cup titles in 1967 and 1968. Her total of 14 World Cup victories (including the Olympics) is still a Canadian record. During her nine-year career Nancy won a total of 17 Canadian Championship titles. Since retiring from active competition, she has worked to promote the sport and was instrumental in the early development of the Whistler-Blackcomb Resort. Since 1994 she has been Director of Skiing at Sun Peaks Resort and since 2005 she has been Chancellor of Thompson Rivers University. Ms. Green Raine is an Officer of the Order of Canada, a member of both Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and Canada’s Walk of Fame.

Yonah Martin has deep roots in both Korean and Canadian heritage and has spent her life building bridges between different cultural communities in BC. Born in Seoul, South Korea, before immigrating to Canada 1972, Ms. Martin is the co-founder of the Corean Canadian Coactive (C3) society and has served on the Multicultural Advisory Council of BC, the Vancouver Korean Canadian Scholarship Foundation, the Kateslem After School Club and the Coquitlam Festival Planners Network. Ms. Martin has also been active in political life as a candidate in the constituency of New Westminster-Coquitlam. In 2004 Ms. Martin received ‘Spirit of Community’ award for her service in the Tri-Cities Area.

Richard Neufeld has spent close to two decades in public service to the people of British Columbia. First elected to represent the riding of Peace River North in 1991, Mr. Neufeld has been re-elected on three separate occasions. Since 2001 Mr. Neufeld has served as British Columbia’s Minister of Energy Mines and Petroleum Resources. Mr. Neufeld has also served as the on the council of Fort Nelson, including five years as mayor. Prior to his involvement in public life, Mr. Neufeld owned and operated his own business.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Fabian Manning has dedicated his career to serving Newfoundlanders and Labradorians at all three levels of government. A three term councilor in the town of St. Brides, Mr. Manning served as coordinator for the Cape Shore Area Development Association for three years. Mr. Manning would go on to win three elections to the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly as the representative for Placentia – St. Mary’s. Mr. Manning was subsequently elected as Member of Parliament in the federal constituency of Avalon in the 2006 Federal Election campaign. Mr. Manning would go on to chair both the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans as well as the Conservative Government’s Atlantic caucus.

Nova Scotia

Fred Dickson, QC is both one of Nova Scotia’s most respected lawyers and one of Canada’s top legal experts on offshore resource development. Mr. Dickson is counsel with the law firm of McInnes Cooper. Mr. Dickson has advised the federal and provincial government’s on numerous resource and infrastructure projects, including serving as an advisor to the Government of Nova Scotia during the singing of the 1982 and 1985 Canada / Nova Scotia Offshore Oil and Gas Agreements. Mr. Dickson remains active in these files as a Director of the Offshore / Onshore Technologies Association of Nova Scotia and Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships.

Stephen Greene has political and policy experience at both the federal and provincial levels. Mr. Greene served as Chief of Staff in the Leader’s Office of the Reform Party of Canada from 1993 and 1996 during which he helped manage the opposition response to the national unity and fiscal issues of the day. He went on to work as the Executive Director of the Insurance Brokers Association of Nova Scotia. For the past two years he has served as Principal Secretary and Deputy Chief of Staff to Nova Scotia Premier Rodney MacDonald with wide responsibilities to help the Premier administer an effective government for all Nova Scotians.

Michael L. MacDonald is a Nova Scotia businessman who since 1988 has been the owner and President of Fleur de Lis Motel Ltd. Mr. MacDonald had previously served terms as executive assistant to two federal cabinet ministers and the premier of Nova Scotia. A graduate of the University of King’s College and Dalhousie University, Mr. MacDonald has been an activist and volunteer with the federal and provincial Conservative parties since university, and is presently Vice-President of the Conservative Party of Canada and a two-term representative for Nova Scotia on the party’s national executive. A native of Louisbourg, Mr. MacDonald is a long-time resident of Dartmouth where he resides with his wife and two teenaged sons.

Prince Edward Island

Michael Duffy is one of Canada’s most well known and respected news personalities and the current host of CTV’s daily program, Mike Duffy Live. Mr. Duffy joined CBC Radio News in 1974, switched to CBC TV’s “The National” in 1978, and joined CTV in 1988. He is a member of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Mr. Duffy is involved in a number of charitable activities both in Ottawa and in his home province, including the UPEI Building fund, and the current Holland College Foundation Fundraising campaign. He has been a visiting fellow at Duke University; and has been twice nominated for the “Best in the Business” award by the Washington Journalism Review. Mr. Duffy has received many other awards and citations, and honourary degrees from the University of PEI; from Niagara University in Niagara Falls, NY; and from Wilfrid Laurier University in Brantford.

New Brunswick

Percy Mockler has been a long-time MLA in the New Brunswick legislature since he was first elected in 1982. During his time in the provincial legislature, Mr. Mockler served in a number of portfolio’s including Minister of Wellness, Culture and Sport, Solicitor General and Minister of Human Resources Development and Housing. Mr. Mockler is a former advisory member for trade opportunities strategy with the federal Department of External Affairs. He has also been active in community affairs as treasurer of local fish and wildlife associations, a director of the caisse populaire, and as a member and chair of his local school board.

John D. Wallace was born in Rothesay, NB and had a distinguished law career in St. John. Most recently, he served for 7 years as Partner/Counsel at the law firm of Stewart McKelvey. Previously he had been Corporate Counsel for Irving Oil Limited and a Partner at Palmer, O’Connell, Leger, Turnbull and Turnbull. Mr. Wallace continued his community service after retiring from law. He is a Member of the University of New Brunswick Board of Governors, the St. John Imperial Theatre Capital Campaign Cabinet and the New Brunswick Symphony Steering Committee. Mr. Wallace was the Telegraph-Journal Male Newsmaker of the Year in 2002 and became a recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2003.


Patrick Brazeau is a member of the Algonquin Nation and a citizen of the Indian reserve of Kitigan Zibi, near Maniwaki, Quebec. A champion of the rights of Aboriginals, in 2006, he was chosen as the National Chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples. He used this forum to promote the economic and social development of Aboriginals, especially those who live off-reserve. Mr. Brazeau has a black belt in karate and was a member of the Naval Reserve on HMCS Carleton, in Ottawa.

Suzanne Fortin-Duplessis was born in Chicoutimi and studied at the École des Beaux-arts de Québec and at Laval University, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in visual arts and a certificate in college education. She was a teacher at the regional school board Louis-Fréchette. In 1981, she became the first woman to be elected to the Municipal Council of the City of Sainte-Foy. She became active in federal politics and was elected as the MP for the riding of Louis-Hébert from 1984 to 1993. Ms. Fortin-Duplessis has always been involved in the community. During her career, she was a member of the board of the Alzheimer Society and the Fondation de l’Opéra de Québec, and she is a member of the Laval hospital and the Saint-Sacrement hospital foundations. More recently, she was a volunteer for the International Eucharistic Congress.

Leo Housakos was born in Montreal and studied at Cégep Vanier and at McGill University, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in arts, with a major in political science and history. In 1993, he co-founded the Montreal Hellenic Chamber of Commerce and is currently a Director of Via Rail Canada.Throughout his business career he has held important management positions in several companies, including Quadvision Consultants and Terrau. Mr. Housakos is married and is the father of two children.

Michel Rivard studied in Quebec City and spent the most part of his professional life in public administration. He was President of the Corporation des maîtres entrepreneurs en réfrigération du Québec, then Mayor of Beauport from 1980 to 1984. Mr. Rivard was director of a number of organizations, and was President of the Executive Committee of the Communauté Urbaine de Québec. In 1994, he was elected at the Assemblée nationale as the MNA for Limoilou. He was Regional Delegate for the region of Quebec and parliamentary Assistant of the Minister responsible for the region of Quebec.


Nicole Eaton has devoted much of her life to serving her community in varying degrees through her participation and leadership in a number of charitable organizations, foundations and the arts. Presently she is Director and Vice-Chair of St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation, Director and Vice-Chair the National Ballet of Canada and Chair of the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies. Previously, Ms Eaton has served in varying capacities on a number of other organizations, including the Royal Ontario Museum, the George R. Gardiner Museum, the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and the Stratford Festival of Canada. Ms Eaton is also a columnist for the newspaper the National Post and is co-author of two publications.

Irving Gerstein, C.M., O. Ont is a businessman and corporate director. A Member of both the Order of Canada the Order of Ontario, Mr. Gerstein has been involved in politics for over 40 years, including service as Chair of the Conservative Fund Canada. He is an Honorary Director of Mount Sinai Hospital (Toronto), having previously served as Chairman of the Board, Chairman Emeritus, and a director over a period of twenty-five years. He is a director of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and a former Chairman of the Young Presidents Organization. Mr. Gerstein graduated from the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce, University of Pennsylvania, and attended The London School of Economics.


Pamela Wallin, O.C., S.O.M is an award winning journalist whose career stretches back more than three decades. Ms. Wallin is most recognized from her time at CTV where she co-hosted Canada AM and later served as CTV’s Ottawa Bureau chief. Ms. Wallin would subsequently form her own production company Pamela Wallin Productions Inc. Ms. Wallin has remained active in public life as Chancellor of the University of Guelph and Senior Advisor on Canada-US relations to the President of the Americas Society and the Council of the Americas. In 2007, Prime Minister Harper appointed Ms. Wallin to the Independent Panel on Canada’s Future Role in Afghanistan. Ms. Wallin has agreed to step down as Senator and submit her name as a candidate when Saskatchewan holds its first legislated Senate election.


Hector Daniel Lang has made the Yukon his home for more than 50 years. Born in 1948 in Dawson Creek, BC, he moved with his family to Whitehorse where he completed high school, and later attended the University of Alaska at Fairbanks. First elected to the Yukon Legislative Assembly in 1974, Mr Lang served 5 consecutive terms, retiring from the legislature in 1992. Over the course of his 18 years in elected office he was responsible for numerous Ministerial portfolios and later served in the opposition. Since 1992, Mr. Lang has worked as a Sales Associate in the Yukon Real Estate industry. Active in community affairs, he is currently the Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors for Yukon College. He has four children and three grandchildren, who reside in Whitehorse. Mr Lang presently lives in Whitehorse with his partner Valerie Hodgson, a local artist.


Anonymous said...

A troupe of tame Senators!

Has there ever been such an unillustrious batch of Canadians appointed to the Senate? I think not.

Anonymous said...

Great to see such a great list of under achievers when it comes to Social Concience and morality. Pat Carney was so so but this is a disgrace.Lyin Brian and now Uneven Steven his little clone.

Anonymous said...

Hey! This 'little' round of appointments just cost the taxpayers another 16,200,000.00 hard earned dollars. And it will come out of the hardworking middle class as the rich have covered their collective asses and the poor are off the tax rolls. Elect the Senate or abolish it. Harper will be gone by 2010. What a Mar-roon.

DPL said...

Steveboy did a 180 on fixed election dates. Did a 180 on non elected senators. Just what talent does a person who won some skiraces eons ago bring to the Senate? Mind you the Liberals brought in a lot of dead wood as well. But of greater consequences was his bringing a judge onto the Supreme Court of Canada against the planned arrangements of a panel of judicial folks that was pushed for so hard by the Cons.130.000 a year plus perks sure beats the wages or pensions of so many citizens of this country who have to pay for the feeders of the trough, be they Liberal or Conservative. with 18 new ones the bar sales should rise considerably. Sober second thought! Of for sure. It will be worth the money to get rid of the old Socred, Reform, Campbell Liberal Neufeld.

Anonymous said...

Yonah Martin "appointment" will keep her in good stead to perhaps become the longest serving Senator when she retires in 2040.

In the photo shoot in front of her home yesterday, she appears to be a modest accomodated individual, it will be interesting to see how $130,000 a year payments will make things different for her new found way of life.

Its like winning a lottery without having had to buy a ticket; or having paid her dues, to a partisan party, the fix was in so that she, and others, win.

Anonymous said...

At this rate the Press Gallery will be able to use the Red Chamber as their club room.

If you work in "respectable and main stream" media, being a senator is just part of your pension plan.

But then all a media really is, is a vehicle to sell advertising, and a CanWest newspaper is just good to wrap wet garbage in.


Anonymous said...

Who cares - the country has gone to crap, the Canadian elites just get more federal welfare, while the poor freeze in the cold.

I wish someone would just 'off' the lot and start over. There is no hope ever of any reform in this country.

Anonymous said...

If Harper had left those senate seats open, there was always a chance a Liberal/NDP coalition might take powe and fill them. Imagine a Senator Bruce Clark or a Senator Brenda Locke. We should count our blessings with the appointments we just got.

Anonymous said...

The list could have been a lot worse, like if it was full of hang-em-high rednecks and exMulroney porksters. With this list Harper is trying to show that he's learning he's still on a short leash and is still required to operate as a moderate seeking consensus, but the appintments also show the HarperCons' are still yearning for a majority so they can impose more of their hard-right priorities

Anonymous said...

So Harper has been thwarted at every attempt to change the senate by both the existing senate and some of the provinces. (i.e. Ontario and Quebec-surprise-surprise).Had he not done anything and was defeated by the libs (for example) they would appoint another 18 liberal hacks giving them an unsurmountable majority.
Rather than just attack Harper, what would any of you suggest he do?

Horny Toad

Budd Campbell said...

Nancy Greene Raine has always been a politically astute player. In the early 1970s she got herself appointed to some sports committee that PM Trudeau set up. In the early 1970s she and Al kept on good enough terms with the NDP that the resort municipality of Whistler was setup, and Bob Williams authored the Commercial Alpine Ski Policy which provided for Crown land to be exchanged for lifts being installed. It was the basis for the long term boom in commercial ski developments in BC, a trend that the Socreds and their hacks falsely claimed credit for.

But in the 1975 provincial election Al and Nancy made it known that they had supported Alan Williams in West Vancouver. They were once again backing the horse that was in a position to pay dividends.

And so on it goes, to today, with Nancy in the Senate.

On Bill's other point, that the Liberals should welcome these appointments, at least one did. Bill's fellow photo subject, Sen Larry "WalMart Greeter" Campbell was delighted with the appointments, but couldn't stop calling Harper an idiot for making them. Kind of weird, really.