Senate picks

Newfoundland and Labrador (1 seat) – Fabian Manning

Price Edward Island (1 seat) – Mike Duffy

Nova Scotia (3 seats) – Dr. John Hamm, Michael MacDonald, Stewart McInnes

New Brunswick (2 seats) – Bernard Lord, Doug Finley

Quebec (4 seats) – Mario Dumont, William Shatner, Tasha Kheirridin

Ontario (2 seats) – Irving Gerstein, Sandra Buckler

Saskatchwan (1 seat) – Leave open

British Columbia (3 seats) – Michael Walker, John Weissenberger, Lorne Mayencourt

Yukon (1 seat) – Leslie Neilson

The appointment of Fabian Manning to the Senate from Newfoundland would send a signal to Premier Danny Williams that if he wants to deal with the federal government, he’ll do it through the man into whose fields he’s been plowing salt for the last few years.  Newfoundlanders would respect and admire the cheekiness of that move.

In PEI, Mike Duffy would be a good choice. Duffy’s been a veteran broadcaster and public figure for decades. He’s also the island’s favourite son and would be a good representative in the Red Chamber.

In Nova Scotia, former Premier John Hamm is a stateman for Nova Scotia and is respected by all no matter their partisan stripe. Michael McDonald has been Harper’s point man in Nova Scotia for years serving on National Council and running twice federally and thrice provincially. He also serves as a liason between federal and provincial parties. Stewart McInnes is a fixture in Nova Scotia PC politics. A former Mulroney cabinet minister, McInnes resigned as fundrasier for the PC Party of Nova Scotia just hours ago .  Does this mean he’s up for another job?

New Brunswick has an obvious choice in Bernard Lord. The former PC Premier has been integrated on the strategic side of federal politics for some time. Lord was the national co-chair of the 2008 federal campaign and provides a bridge to the Charest side of the conservative family.  Current director of CPC operations Doug Finley is a shoo-in for the Senate, in my opinion. Senator David Smith has run campaigns for the Liberals for some time from the Red Chamber so the appointment of Doug Finley would be seen as an acceptable move by the PM.

Quebec presents a challenge to Stephen Harper as the PM has toiled spending the last few years building a fledgling organization in that province. There aren’t too many Conservatives there who have been around for a generation of the modern Conservative movement. Mario Dumont made his exit from Quebec politics this week and may find his return as a senator from Quebec. Dumont has been an ally of the Prime Minister and this would satiate the smaller ADQ elements in Harper’s Quebec machine.  William Shatner is a conservative from Montreal and was the first Canadian in space (he did and did so boldly). Shatner would be a nod to Quebec’s arts community and would be noteworthy because in itself! Women will be on the PM’s shortlist for the senate and Quebec author and standard-bearer for the conservative movement in Quebec Tasha Kheiriddin would be a good choice.

In Ontario, senior Conservatives that I’ve spoken to would be surprised if Irving Gerstein was not named to the Senate.  Gerstein is the head of the Conservative fund, the fundraising organization for the Conservative Party.  Sandra Buckler’s name has also made the short list for Senate.  As Stephen Harper’s director of communications, Buckler is and remains a loyalist who fought for the PM in the trenches and pushed the Conservative agenda against the rough grain of the MSM.  I would be very happy to see Buckler return to the fold so that she can have the resources to fight even harder as a hard-nosed, no prisoners activist for Conservative cause.

Saskatchewan presents an interesting challenge. The province has committed to hold an election for the Senate next year. Let them. If Harper holds off on appointing a senator and a coalition government swoops in and does this anyway, the damage to those parties in the province would be irreperable. If the Prime Minister does appoint a senator from Saskatchewan, my choice would be Elwin Hermanson, the founder of the Saskatchewan Party.

In British Columbia there are a few people lobbying for a seat, among them is Gurmant Grewal (not gonna happen).  Another person’s name I’ve heard passed about has been that of John Reynolds.  Likely senators that the PM may appoint include Michael Walker (founder of the Fraser Institute), Lorne Mayencourt (party loyalist) and John Weissenberger (former ministerial chief of staff and founding member of the Reform Party).  Weissenberger is the type who would resign immediately to elect a senator if given the chance.  Longer shots are former MP Betty Hinton and Conservative national councillor Hamish Marshall.

Yukon territory also has a senate seat free. I’d pick Leslie Neilson because he’s a prominant conservative Canadian from the Yukon and his brother Erik was deputy Prime Minister. Neilson is most famous for the Naked Gun movies and has campaigned for charity for the March of Dimes.

I find it deeply unfortunate and immensely frustrating that the PM has been forced into this position of appointing senators. Ideally, as conservatives, we’d like to have them all elected.  The appointment of Senators is a defensive measure by the PM as a coalition government would appoint senators uninterested in senate reform or worse, with separatist sympathies. I would want the PM to secure a pledge from any appointed senator that they would resign and/or stand for election at the earliest opportunity. The appointment of Senators should only be a temporary measure as provinces commit to holding elections.

UPDATE: As some readers point out correctly, Shatner (77) and Neilson (82) are too old (in the constitutional sense) for the senate. The lower age limit is 30 and the upper limit is 75. Could Shatner launch a successful Charter challenge? Or could he slingshot himself around the sun and return to 1986?

So we have a couple of spots open in Quebec and one in the Yukon. Who would you name to the Senate?



  • Stephen Taylor

    There aren't any senate vacancies in Alberta

  • batb

    I know you are a Fellow of the Manning Centre for Building Democracy, so maybe you thought suggesting Preston Manning for a seat in the Senate might be seen as a conflict of interest …

    But, what about Preston Manning being made a Senator? He's kind of the “father” of the renewed c/Conservative movement in Canada. Or would becoming a senator compromise his work at the Manning Centre?

  • Cory D. Schreyer

    Very few, if any, government measures are temporary.

    And no more CBC / CTV patronage appointees, please.

  • Stephen Taylor

    Next GG? Wayne Gretzky!

  • Bob

    Who would you choose for the GG positon?

  • Stephen Taylor

    It'll be one of Manning, Hearn, or Doyle. That's my guess

  • Phil

    Fabian Manning should not be named to a Senator. We need him in the next election which will probably be in a few months. Loyola Hearn on the other hand would be great since he's retired.

  • Stephen Taylor

    Agreed and agreed. Binns is the ambassador to Ireland and the only other obvious choice. Duffy’s a good guy.

  • NeilD

    I’m all for your picks.

  • Gabby in QC

    Why William Shatner and Leslie Nielsen?
    Don’t they live in Hollywood?
    What would entice them to come to work in the Senate?

    For Quebec:
    What about Dr. Philippe Couillard (no relation to Julie, I think?
    Or Benoit Pelletier?
    Or Jacques Duchesneau?

  • Ronald

    Yes, the PM is making no headway on the Senate which is dominated by the Liberals. Not anyone of them wishes to rock the boat, so if you can’t fight them – Join them. I see that all the old boy’s club members are opposed to the PM putting these things in place. I guess Jack and Gilles and Eliabeth will likely be a bit perturbed. So near and yet so far!

  • JosefK

    “Quebec author and standard-bearer for the conservative movement in Quebec Tasha Kheiriddin would be a good choice.” (Emphasis mine)

    No sir, I disagree. I disagree heartly. I disagree firmly.


    For those who are missing out on the, er, promoting liberty… go HERE please to the unofficial Tasha YouTube Channel.

    Say, I also think you missed someone on Ontario: YOU!!! Yeah, you. Time you got the call for the big dance/dogfight. That red chamber's going to need a pioneer in the field of information technology to reform for this century, so I couldn't make a better pick than you. Sandra Buckler also should get the other seat.

    I like this: Captain James Tibirius Kirk, General Tasha Kheiriddin and Senator Stephen Taylor. That'd be great… make your Senate like America's have some glamour at last.

    I've probably crossed the line into gushing, but here I go.

  • JosefK

    Me too. Or Gen. Hillier. Or Don Cherry.

  • JDot

    The great Duff, should not get a senate seat, unless he can make it through a interview with Christie Blatchford with out getting all soft.. ……lol

    Duff man rocks…

    PS:I think Mr.Duffy would be a good non partisan pick.

  • Frank Cybulski

    “I would want the PM to secure a pledge from any appointed senator that they would resign and/or stand for election at the earliest opportunity. The appointment of Senators should only be a temporary measure as provinces commit to holding elections.”

    Pretty much my exact feelings on the subject. Appointing Senators shouldn't be a permanent thing; it should only a matter of potentially keeping the barbarians at the gates until we get back into a position where the Conservatives can again move forward on Senate reform.

  • Devin Maxwell

    I guess Stewart McInnes’ scandalous past doesn’t concern you.

  • bec

    Okay seriously, Stephen, is it really, Captain KIRK? Are you protecting my, dumb question?

    Can you answer the questions that I posed in someone elses post? This is too perfect!!

  • Ronald

    The PM has attempted to sort this thing out with the Senate to no avail. Now is the time to bring in some of the people who can help make this Senate work. Some very good choices here and the option for the PM to place these people as he sees fit is completely legal. The opposition parties may have a different take on the situation as evidenced by some of the Senior Liberals. Jack and Gilles and Elizabeth must be upset. So near yet so far!

  • don

    That’s really cool.

  • Mike

    Mike Duffy is best doing what he’s doing, as he (and Michael Coren) is best at pointing of to guests (like the NDP strategists) the not to act like the “Sky is Falling”. Former Premiew Pat Binns should be asked from PEI, and he’s relatively young at 60 if he needs to be there for a while.

    For BC former Conservative MP John Reynolds at 66, bery important guy could last a 8-year term.

    As for Leslie Nielsen, he’s 82 so unless I misunderstand the law I don’t think he can become a senator. Not to mention I believe he grew up in the NWT’s not Yukon when his dad was stationed up there as a Mountie. He may have only been up to the Yukon when he filmed the finale to Due South, and even then they probably filmed that episode in Alberta. But he may own some land from his brother Erik.

    Anyway, Shatner 77, so too old. I’m not familiar with Quebec politics but there must be a few doctors, businessmen, engineers, or other professionals that could fill a token non-politician.

    Anyway, I also agree that Saskatchewan should be left open, so Brad Wall can run a Senate election next year.

  • Phil

    Making Fabian Manning a senator would be a boneheaded move since he’ll probably win his seat in the next election. Hearn and Doyle would be good picks. Personally, I’d like to see Hearn cause he really dislikes Danny.

  • Werner Patels

    But my friend Bill (Shatner) is not a conservative (or a Conservative), so from that point of view, your plan wouldn't work …

  • Werner Patels

    Follow up: you confuse Bill with his character Denny Crane, who is a conservative (Republican). If Bill still voted in Canada, I am afraid, he'd vote Liberal…..

  • bec

    Without seeming like a dimbat…explain the high profile names, please. Thanks Stephen!

  • James

    Stephen, do you think that Mike Duffy would agree to Harpers request that all senate appointees support senate reform legislation?

    I am not doubting the pick, I am actually interested in your thoughts.

  • Candace

    What’s the minimum age? (Re: Tasha K)

    SHATNER? Are you out of your friggin’ mind? If PMSH is going to appoint a senator (or many), can we do away with BS appointments of people with minimal interest or experience in… politics and/or government?

    Jaysus H. That’s the best you could come up with for Quebec? SHATNER?

  • Shawn Abigail

    Interesting post.

    FYI on the last paragraph… not every conservative cares about EEE, so we don't see appointing Senators as a problem. Harper should have done it long ago to keep it from becoming a last-minute issue.

  • Ronald

    After having tried every which way to have this dilemma solved, there appears to be no headway made.
    What is the option? Keep the status quo and appoint the 18 as you see fit, providing they agree to an elective Senate down the road. How do you think the majority of Liberals arrived there in the first place.

  • Liz J

    How about L Ian MacDonald for a Quebec appointee?

    Apparently Fabian Manning is interested in a Senate seat, taking a chance on Danny Williams not to interfere with the next election would be a big gamble. Certainly Loyola Hearn is a strong contender if he's interested, lots of experience.

    As for Duffy, not sure he'd be on the list. It would be tough to have his program taken over by someone like Jane Taber!

    Main thing is he's finally doing what should be done, filling the vacant seats using the system we have, not waiting for changes that could take decades.

  • Andrew


    Bill Shatner is 77. How does he get in if there's an age limit of 75?

  • Richard

    Lord Black.

  • DJH

    William Shatner? He cannot be appointed to the Senate because of his age (77 years old). The Senators serve until they reach 75 years old.

  • Sum guy

    Your friend Bill Shatner? When you watch TV, he's not talking to you Werner.

  • bocanut

    Want to get rid of the senate?
    Use Quebec's picks to appoint Celine Dion and Don Cherry.

  • JosefK

    She's beyond 30. But not by much. That's all that need be said.

    I think Adam Daifallah ought to get what should have been William Shatner's. Maybe also whomever Tasha Kheiriddin needs as a sidekick (and as an American citizen, I am ineligible and uninterested).

  • JosefK

    L. Ian MacDonald has a problem: He's Mr. Tasha Kheiriddin and ladies go first.

  • JosefK

    I like 'em too.

  • JosefK

    Pick Tasha First. Enuf said.

  • JosefK

    Tasha's in her late 30s. Not a problem.

  • Stephen Taylor

    Interesting strategy!

  • Gabby in QC

    Liz, I like your choice of L. Ian Macdonald. He’s a very articulate person (used to be speechwriter for Mulroney), seems to be a staunch supporter of the BNA interpretation of the Constitution (upholding separate & well-defined provincial and federal jurisdictions), and is conversant with both sides of Quebec tensions.

    The only thing that holds me back is his sometimes critical view of Harper. I think the latter has enough naysayers against him without adding another one in the senate.

    Yes, I admit it, I’m an unrepentant Harper fan. What can I say?

  • MikeW

    As a bedrock Conservative Stephen, I like your idea to have these potential Senators sign a pledge to resign if an election for the position happens. I have no choices but I do have a do not appoint – John Tory or any Ont. MMP to give Tory a seat. He needs to resign and a new Conservative leader be chosen.

  • Bob

    Boy, if Mike Duffy was appointed to the senate, Craig Oliver would have a fit or a melt down. I think Oliver was counting on Dion a making him a senator. He is quite a Liberal cheer leader. He did not hide it well on election night.

  • Anonymous

    Stephen, why not you? Have to ask…

  • Werner Patels

    Sorry to disappoint you, but I deal with these people in real life, not through the idiot’s box.

  • Anonymous

    How come some of my comments aren’t appearing?

  • lwestin

    I’ll disagree with the universal acceptance of ‘Dr.’ John Hamm. He is anti-life. A medical doctor who can’t stand up for life at all is not a great pick for the senate. As a Catholic, I was also pretty upset when he overturned a deal with the Sisters at the Mount for hospital beds for priests under their care, making their expensive renovations to accomodate the priests useless, necessitating the sale of their convent to a condo development, and forcing Catholic priests into secular care. So in one fell swoop he managed to change the culture of a Catholic University and isolate retired priests from a spiritual home. The Sisters are being allowed to live in a portion of their convent until they die out. Cheers!

  • lwestin

    You’re kidding about Mike Duffy, right? The Island can do better. (I’m thinking.)

  • Bob

    I agree Mike Duffy would be a good choice. I believe the Craig Oliver would have a fit it it happened. I think he was eyeing a senate seat for himself in Dion had a chance to select senators.

  • Beer and Popcorn

    William Shatner would shut down that useless senate.

    Bring it on!