PM says he'll hold off on any new Senate appointments
Prime Minister Stephen Harper arrives at Xstrata Nickel's Raglan Mine in the northern Nunavik region of Quebec on Friday, August 23, 2013. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)
Published Friday, August 23, 2013 7:55PM EDT
RAGLAN MINE, Que. -- Don't look for any new faces in the scandal-plagued Senate for the time being.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he'll hold off making any new appointments, even though there are currently five vacancies.
On the final stop of his northern tour, he was asked whether the positions will be filled.
"I have no immediate plans to do so," he said Friday. "Obviously we'll keep an eye on whether the legislation, passed by the elected House is able to keep moving. As long as it is, I have no immediate plans to do so."
But his comment does leave the door open in the sense that Conservatives senators are reportedly skeptical about the government's Senate reform legislation and might vote against it.
The government's reform plans were put on hold a few months ago when Harper referred the issue to the Supreme Court of Canada for an opinion on whether the changes can be made without reopening the Constitution.
The Conservatives have a majority in the Senate, which allows them to pass most government bills. But it is apparently unclear whether Harper's Senate appointments, all of whom promised to support reform, will actually vote for it.
The mandatory retirement age in the Senate is 75 and three more seats could come open before the end of the year.