The case for Doug Finley


Richard Albert bravely makes the case for senators Finley, Stewart-Olsen and Plett.

That the prime minister chose to reward party stalwarts should come as no surprise. If ever there were an immutable law of political leadership, there it is, in full bloom. Patronage, neither a good thing nor a bad thing, is the lifeblood of politics, a simple fact of conventional political practice. But what critics failed to appreciate is that Harper’s choice of Finley, Olsen, and Plett reflects principle, not patronage…

Sure, the Harper troika exercised immense power in their respective roles as advisers to the Conservative party and the PMO. True, they were all close to the centre of the political universe. And it is certainly undeniable that they now take pride and pleasure in serving in the august Senate, one of the greatest privileges in Canadian politics. Yet none of these reasons was the impetus that spurred them to action years ago when the Conservatives had not yet even been reunited and a return to 24 Sussex seemed virtually impossible.


The case for Doug Finley

  1. Silly me. I thought they appoint Doug so he could write fundraising letters while on government payroll.

  2. Here's where his argument went wrong:

    "Consider that citizens are usually moved to become politically engaged for one or more of five reasons: power, proximity, profile, privilege, and principle. Those are the five Ps of politics."

    I'd add "public service" as a separate P (separate from principle which can imply a selfish insistence on being correct) that looms much larger in the motivation of most people who are engaged in their communities, including professional politicians.

    I wonder what former servants of the Commons like Charles Caccia, or Flora Macdonald (or Joe Clark for that matter) would think about these Five P's. I think more people than we credit get involved in politics for less selfish reasons.

  3. Thanks Aaron, An interesting writer, clearly with a well defined political philosophy but not as partisan as one might think. Here is another clip from Mr. Albert.

    "If the Conservatives really were serious about Senate reform, they would work with the other parties to strike an all-partisan plan for new rules regulating the election, eligibility, and function of senators. But they have not chosen this course. Their current approach – an ill-fated plan purporting to proceed piecemeal by incremental legislative unilateralism, though comprehensive institutional multilateralism is necessary –

    exposes just how far they have elevated political expedience over the larger national interest."

    Personally I find that last line fairly damming.

  4. In an arena (politics) where your past is never behind you, where you are held accountable for the policies and politics you have espoused in your life, having Doug Finley deeply involved in our Country's affairs and, now, officially a member of Government is wrong and an affront to our very close allies.

    The CPC like to boast about their natural hatred for separatists… Why have they made room for Doug Finley? He has spent more time dedicated to a separatist party than he has to the Conservative Party of Canada. Perhaps Doug Finley is just an opportunist and that he'll gravitate to whatever party accepts him but why has his Scottish National Party roots been ignored? That party is virtually the equivalent to the BQ in the UK, their hallmark policy being that of Scottish Independence.

    Maybe it is simply that Harper does not mind having nation destroyers on board (he has a track record demonstrating as much).

  5. "…serving in the august Senate, one of the greatest privileges in Canadian politics."

    That says more about the sorry state of Canadian politics than about the Senate.

  6. Right after these appointments were announced some commenter here said that being a Senator will protect Finley from the In-and-Out investigation. Or having to testify or something. Does anyone know if there is any truth to that or was it just sour grapes (on the part of whomever made the claim)?

  7. I still wish someone in MSM would have the balls to ask one of these 'chosen' chesspieces to show the signed agreement which, according to Harper, will see them resign after 8 years or the implementation of an elected senate, which ever comes first.
    They'd never show it because it doesn't exist. Should their term end when a Liberal (or non-CON) government is in power, they'd cling to it and its perks like dogpoop to a shoe.

    • I'm actually hoping that after time spent in the Senate, they will slowly lose their partisan ways and recognize its value to the country. At that point, they would realize why we don't have limited terms for senators and renounce any piece of paper they may have signed. But then, I'm an idealist.

      • I have from a well placed senior, journalist that she is not aware of any paper that links Senators to promises, indeed so do you if you go back to archives. Given that I feel fairly safe to conclude they do not exist. Indeed, if you look for even direct quotes from the Senators themselves… they have become silient on the issue. My guess is that there are two reasons:
        1) the paper never existed for the strategic reasons dan in can stated,
        2) the original promises (quit in 8, vote for reform) probably crossed the line legally. It is fine for Harper to canvas, interview candidates before the appointments, but getting consideration for the appointment in terms of guaranteed positions on issues is likely out of bounds. (I am no expert on Constitutional Law, but if PM's were allowed to sell Senate seats for consideration then certainly Mulroney would never have needed Karlheinz's money.)

        • Your #2 reason flies in the face of Fortier.

          • I though Fortier made his promise after being put in the Senate, which would be different than reaching a binding agreement beforehand. (However my memory is weak and wikipedia has let me down.)

  8. "That the prime minister chose to reward party stalwarts should come as no surprise."

    Only to those who believed his promises I guess.

    • That such people might exist at this point would be the real surprise.

  9. Of course there is no "binding" agreement, it would be against the law. You'll have to wait until each person reaches their

    Or until the Conservatives have a majority in both chambers there would changes that are allowed under the Constitution.