Prime Minister Stephen Harper today appointed five new senators including Doug Black (above in an interview with me from March,2012) who got the most votes among all candidates to be a senator-in-waiting in Alberta’s provincial election last year. With these new appointments, the 105-seat Senate is now filled with 53 Harper appointees. So it’s not only a Conservative majority in the Senate, it’s a Harper Conservative majority.
Since taking office, Harper has now made 58 appointments — some had already resigned, one died in office, and one (Fabian Manning) quit and then got reappointed. That means, with 58 appointments to the Senate, Harper has passed Brian Mulroney in terms of senate appointments.
That’s a bit of an awkward accomplishment for Harper who, in March,2004, said, “I will not name appointed people to the Senate.”
Where does this record rank Harper, the country’s 22nd prime minister, among all prime ministers? Here’s the list:
- William Lyon MacKenzie King: 103 senate appointments
- John A. Macdonald: 91
- Wilfrid Laurier: 81
- Pierre Trudeau: 81
- Jean Chretien: 75
- Robert Borden: 62
- Stephen Harper: 58
- Brian Mulroney: 57
Now, Harper will be prime minister at least until the fall of 2015, the date of the next general election. There will be at least 11 more senate vacancies by then as senators hit the mandatory retirement age of 75. (There could be more if some retire early) and he left a B.C. seat vacant today. So, if Harper appoints at least 12 more before the next general election, he will be number two among all non-Liberal prime ministers and number 6 all-time with 70 senators appointed.