Monday, September 10, 2012

THE SENATE SWEEPSTAKES

Where were you on November 17, 1986?

I was working in the newsroom at CFSX Radio in Stephenville when the news emerged that Prime Minister Brian Mulroney had appointed a Port-Au-Port teacher to the Canadian Senate. 

The unassuming teacher/ principal became the province's first female senator.
The phones rang of the hook as provincial and national news agencies inquired about this surprise appointment.
Her first comments to us sparked a great deal of controversy. When asked why the Prime Minister had chosen her, she replied because she was a women and a Roman Catholic. 
While it has never been substantiated, it is said that her appointment was a mistake, that her husband, well known P.C. organizer Jim Cochrane was supposed to be the appointee A mix up in the regional minister's office, or the PMO led to the appointment.

26 years later Senator Cochrane's tenure  in the Senate is down to the short strokes. Her seat will become vacant in 13 days.

Last week the Prime Minister appointed another five cronies to the Red Chamber. When I heard the news I assumed that Cochrane's successor would be among them. Political watchers will have to wait as the local senate sweepstakes continue? Who will get the plum appointment? Will it be a women? Will that person be from the West Coast or Labrador?

My pick is provincial cabinet minister Tom Marshall. His father, Jack Marshall, served as a Newfoundland Senator from 1978 to 1994.  He had been a Progressive Conservative MP  for  a decade before being appointed to the Senate by Liberal Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau.

Marshall is said to be ready for retirement from the House of Assembly. This just might be the exit opportunity he has been waiting for. However, there is the issue of the Anybody But Conservative Campaign spearheaded by his former boss, Danny Williams. How likely is it that one of Williams top lieutenants would be given a plum appointment? 

There is no shortage of Harperites in the province who might be owed a little pork for their allegiance in the bad old days. A few people  spring to  mind including Loyola Sullivan, Craig Westcott, Trevor Taylor & Tim Powers.

What about helping the local Tories out of their leadership dilemma. Premier Dunderdale is slipping with every poll, dragging her party down with her. Could Dunderdale head to Ottawa in return for Premier Manning? The chain of events would lead to PC Leadership, a provincial election in 2013 and a by-election in Virginia Waters - where coincidentally future Liberal Leader Dean MacDonald resides.

Stranger things have happened!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Senate should be abolished.

At least we can vote non-performing politicians out of the Commons.