Saturday, January 30, 2010

Poirier Makes the Smart Call

Poirier appointment planned to eliminate by-election

When Stephen Harper's new batch of Premiers takes their place among the members of Canada's upper chamber, one of them -- New Brunswick's Rose May Poirier -- will be absent.

Poirier's appointment won't take effect until February 28th. There's a reason for this.

Poirier is one of two sitting provincial legislators -- the other being Ontario MPP Bob Runciman -- to be appointed as one of Harper's newest batch of Senators. Her appointment will take effect later in order to eliminate the need for a by-election in her riding of Rogersville-Kouchibouguac.

New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham must call an election by September 27, 2010.

"Being in close proximity that we are to the next general election on September 27, if the appointment would have been made, effectively, then a byelection would have needed to be called," Poirier explained. "I think that's an unnecessary expense for the taxpayers of New Brunswick."

Bob Runciman's constituents in Leeds-Grenville won't be so fortunate. As Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty doesn't have to call an election until October 10, 2011, they will have to endure a by-election to fill Runciman's place in Queen's Park.

The upside is that at least they will have representation in the interim betwen Runcman's appointment and that election. Poirier's constituents will not -- an unfortunate downside.

Conversely, Runciman's appointment to the red chamber will deprive Queen's Park of its strongest voice for Senate reform.

The delay in Rose May Poirier's appointment taking effect is a shrewd fiscal move. Although Bob Runciman is a worthy appointee to the Senate, his is not so much. This, sadly, is the kind of thing that will happen when active legislators are appointed to the Senate.


  1. Great post. I don't see any MSM talking points upside for the current gov't regarding reforming the senate.
    It will be interesting to watch how the new balance of power inside the upper chamber is now used to the minority gov't benefit.

  2. It's "put up or shut up" time in terms of Senate reform.

    There's no more Liberal majority in the Senate to keep stonewalling the issue. Now Harper has to make it happen.


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