Harper appoints seven Tory faithful to Senate
Published Friday, January 6, 2012 9:48PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 7:04AM EDT
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has appointed seven new senators, including a handful of Conservative party faithful and the first woman to be elected to the Upper House.
Those entering the Senate are:
- Vern White, the former Ottawa police chief who had once been touted as a potential RCMP commissioner
- Betty Unger, who will take one of Alberta's Senate seats after being elected by more than 300,000 people in a 2004 ballot
- Norman Doyle, from Newfoundland and Labrador, who worked as a Conservative MP for 12 years
- JoAnne Buth, a Manitoban who was president of the Canola Council of Canada
- Ghislain Maltis of Quebec, who was a backroom insider and political organizer for the Conservatives
- Asha Seth, a well-known medical doctor and philanthropist from Toronto, will take a seat for Ontario.
In a press release issued Friday afternoon, Harper also noted his plans to appoint former failed Conservative candidate Jean-Guy Dagenais from Quebec.
As an opposition MP, Harper had long advocated reforming the Senate. But since coming to power, he has appointed new senators regularly.
With the new appointments, the Conservatives now have a large Senate majority, with 61 seats. The Liberals, meanwhile, have 41 seats. Two independents and one from the former Progressive Conservatives round out the roster.
NDP MP Charlie Angus said that the announcement smells of patronage.
"It stinks," said Angus. "These are puppets of the prime minister."
The NDP, meanwhile, has never been able to appoint a senator and has long called for the chamber's dissolution.
Harper's announcement came after he had already held a media availability for a new federal program.
With a report from The Canadian Press