Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Tucking the nominations of 18 new Conservative Senators behind the headline stories and comments of thousands of Canadians stranded in waist deep snow from coast to coast to coast hasn't much helped quell the outcry from the Prime Minister's critics.

In yet another grossly glaring example of sacrificing fundamental principles for the politically expedient; Prime Minister Harper again flip-flopped on his own course of action...The one he vowed to uphold when he introduced his "New" Government, ad nauseum, back in the late winter and spring of 2006.

Government shills and mouthpieces may have all the media lines, talking points, and reasoning they choose to defend this most recent example of failed policy. But, as Calgary "Sun" columnist Ray Clancey observed succinctly, borrowing a page from George W. Bush: "You can put lipstick on a pig - but it's still a pig."

Canada's Upper House, the Senate, mirrors the British House of Lords which draws from tradition dating all the way back to the "Magna Carta" signed in the 13th Century. Members of the House of Lords are drawn from the British social and economic elite. When he was asked back in 1867, our first Prime Minister John A. MacDonald, himself a Conservative, described the Canadian equivalent as a "House of Sober Second Thought".

I was born, raised and educated in New Brunswick secured in the belief that the 105 Members of our Upper House were indeed Canadian elite: Desirous and capable of, anxious to practice, thoughtfully intentioned insight into my beloved country's well being. Surely they had attained a plateau of knowledge, accomplishement and experience that I could only ever aspire to reach.

If only this were true. Over a 40 year career, I have been acquainted with and have had professional relationships with four current members of Canada's Senate. Two of those have been colleagues in journalism. Political patronage aside; the plateau from which they render judgement on we mortals is an illusion. A creaky, shaky, unsteady soapbox mounted on long ago ignored political platforms, ideologies, and principles from the Liberal and the Conservative Parties. Not a plateau at all, but a trough from which feed has-beens, wannabees and those incapable of being fairly elected. What a sham! What a shame on us for being played along.

I hope that the ethics and principles of my 35 years (plus) career in journalism would prevent me from accepting the appointment...but I pray never to be tested with an offer. As Peggy Lee sang back in 1969..."If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing, let's break-out the booze and have a ball, If that's all there is."

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