Senator Romeo Dallaire, a brilliant humanitarian who tried to stop the Rwandan genocide, retired from the senate yesterday. This article is not about him, because it’s a time for the newest Canadian political speculation: Who will sit next in Romeo Dallaire’s Quebec seat in the always impressive Senate, and how long until they have a spending scandal?
Firstly, how do we nominate senators? We need to understand that to figure out who’s eligible. What are the (stupid) criteria we use? Well, at Confederation, our founding British overlords framed our Senate to demand a set number of persons from each of Canada’s main regions. The definition of persons is something we won’t get into, but it didn’t include women and that was a predictably shitty move.
The meaning of “from” is, however, quite vague, and was specified as owning $4,000 of property in the province a given senator claims to represent. That’s an equivalent $175,000-$200,000 today, which is a reasonable piece of land. Hilariously, they never adjusted this figure for inflation, and this requirement is today satisfied by just about anything, including unused vacant lots. Oh Canada. The only time this has actually been a problem was when Chretien nominated a nun who had taken a vow of poverty, which was only resolved when her convent transferred land to be in her name. How sweet of them.
As you can see, the qualification process is complex and generally odd, and the process of nomination follows in that suit. There are geographical qualifications, age qualifications and more fun things that they call qualifications but are clearly just lowest common denominators because if we know anything about Canadian Senators, it’s that they’re not qualified. Also, let’s remember that the sitting Prime Minister gets to suggest the new Senate nominee to the Governor General (who always obeys), which means we’re getting a Conservative in this seat.
So, who do we have form Quebec who has experience with complicated nomination processes that the Conservatives seem like? Isn’t it obvious? Harper should nominate Marc Nadon to the Senate. He’s the perfect candidate! The Conservatives inexplicably adore him even though there’s no real indication that he’d be a party faithful, plus the Quebec thing!
He already has an understanding of how these hugely political nomination processes work, and he’s owed something by the Conservatives after their failure to get him a Supreme Court seat, and Senate seats are basically always given to people that are owed something. The most important factor is that he may actually be eligible for this appointment.
The only other real alternative we have is that after Rob Ford inevitably loses the Toronto mayoral election, he should be named. After all, Rob Ford has just about everything other than a spending scandal, so now’s the perfect time!