The “Help Stephen Harper Name His Next Senator” Challenge -

The “Help Stephen Harper Name His Next Senator” Challenge

Scott Feschuk suggests we could really use an ‘adorable senator’


*Update: Challenge winner announced in the Comments below.

In today’s Ottawa Notebook, Jane Taber describes Tom Flanagan as “super Tory strategist.”

Does she mean “super,” as in “especially good at what he does?”

Does she mean “super,” as in “possessing extra-human powers such as the ability to strategize faster than a speeding Stephanopoulos?”

Or does she mean “super,” as in “I’m sorry I had to take a whole day off from saying nice things about Laureen Harper or directly quoting Conservative talking points, so I’m doing this instead?”

More important, the Notebook points out that Senator Jerry Grafstein is soon retiring, which gives the Prime Minister yet another opportunity to appoint someone new, or the rest of Mike Duffy, to a seat in the upper chamber.

[Brief pause to allow outraged readers to use comments to assail fat joke…]

I’m actually pretty sure there are a couple senators stepping down before Grafstein, but the point remains – soon it will be time yet again for Stephen Harper to respect his promise never to fill a single Senate seat through patronage, except for all of them.


Janine Krieber – Think of the play this would get: the disaffected wife of a former Liberal leader welcomed into the Conservative fold and given a platform for her anti-Ignatieff views. This would receive more press than any defection since Belinda Stronach left the Tories or Peter Van Loan’s senses left Peter Van Loan.

A loyal, highly partisan Conservative with even fewer credentials than Carolyn Stewart-Olsen because Harper can get away with appointing anyone right now and goddamn it that’s what he’s going to do – The most likely choice.

Zombie Louis St. Laurent – As I mentioned yesterday, he is already disinterred and could easily be reanimated. (I know a guy.) A statesman of St. Laurent’s stature would lend gravitas to the upper chamber, foster a spirit of bipartisan co-operation and— braaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiinnnnnnsssssss. And don’t worry about me: I could find a new hat rack.

A baby panda – We could really use an adorable senator, so it’s either the panda or Coyne.

Who do you think Stephen Harper should appoint to the Senate? Make your suggestion in the Comments below. The best entry, as decided by a jury of me, will receive a lifelong sinecure prize valued in the tens of dollars.

When it comes to judging these things, I try to be honest and pick the entry that amused me most – the one that generated the most genuine and immediate reaction. And in this case, it’s Con Man’s. I’m pretty sure he’s not trying to be funny, but for some reason it cracked me up to witness the solemnity with which he took on the assignment and the comprehensive nature of his reply. Plus – Bob Runciman! You can’t make this stuff up.

So congratulations (of a sort), Con Man. Please send your address to me at sfeschuk AT sympatico DOT ca and I’ll send off your reward.


The “Help Stephen Harper Name His Next Senator” Challenge

  1. Kady!

  2. Sorry – entries are limited to individuals who are not dead to us.

    • ouch – gallows humuor

    • Thus your pumping for Zombie Louis St-Laurent.

      • Zombie LSL would get this country back on the right track!

    • I had this weird impression that everyone in the news just sort of liked each other…you know, going to galas together and all…guess I was wrong

      • i was kidding, dick. i like kady. it's impossible to not like kady. and i'm not just saying that so she'll lower her guard and i can make off with her lucky charms.

        • Dude, I haven't power-laughed like that in a few days. Thanks!

  3. A Zhu Zhu Hampster. Something to entice the next generation into following politics (Mr Potato Head is sooo 1950's) "These robotic rodents suddenly top every little girl's holiday wish list."

    Of course, rookie senators often find themselves sitting endlessly in meetings and committees. "Num Nums" would fit the bill perfectly…

  4. Andrew Coyne has been jockying for that job for the last 5 years. its about time he gets paid off for rehashing CPC talking points every week!

    • Andrew is the most earnest straight-arrow journalist ever. That's why he's adorable, and not really all that partisan(even though he has crazy ideas like cutting all public funding to the cbc and modelling it after hbo).

      • Andrew is adorable? In 3 minutes on the Maclean's web site I've seen that adjective used three times: Dalai Lama, a Panda, and Andrew Coyne. I am thinking it may be slightly overused. I'm outta here if I see someone refer to Ignatieff as "adorable".

    • Yeah. Like, remember when he supported Dion's carbon tax? That was totally from the Tory playbook.

      • Speaking of dinosaur parts, what if he picks Ralph Klein?

    • Hey remember when he attacked Flaherty for being the biggest spending finance minister in Canadian history. I'm sure he was recieving his instructions from the PMO.

  5. No "p" in hamster you say? Try squeezing them.

    • Dot, that's the funniest thing in this whole blog!!

  6. Thierry Henry – Harper can put Henry into Senate and get some goodwill from Europeans while we are negotiating our free trade deal over the next decade or two. Henry's a foreigner, and he probably doesn't want the job, but I am not bothered by the details.

    • but he's all hands and that is never good for a Senator

    • Henry just screwed the Irish. Not a good choice.

  7. "1997 Stephen Harper" to show Canadians how reasonable he is now, as Old Stephen Harper, and how there is even worse hair than his current do.

  8. A senator who has at least some soul or campassion for animals such as Senator Mac Harb, as the Canadian Seal Slaughter needs to come to an end.

    • No! he should appoint a cute baby seal who will explain to visiting dignitaries how it is important to the local northern economy that he be clubbed at the end of his 8 year term!

      • I support this nomination of a doomed seal.
        Wait! What if ALL senators were clubbed at the end of their terms?

    • I thought this whole article was all a bit of a joke…when did it get serious?

  9. He should appoint me. Of course, first he'd have to arrange for my debts to be paid off, buy me a small piece of land, and wait a little under 16 months until I turn 30, but I assure you it would all be worth it.

    • What about Stephen Colbert?

      • No, he should appoint Not Stephen Colbert, not Stephen Colbert.

    • You've got my vote, well, er, if we elected senators, of course.

  10. If one hockey coach garners such good will, how about the entire 1972 summit series team?

    • how about a literate hockey coach (i know, very hard to find one)? then he/she could read the legislation.

  11. Go for Elizabeth May. She's desperate enough to get into legislature that she might actually take it, Harper would appear less partisan (well, sort of) and you want a reason to believe an appointed Senate doesn't work? The fights between her and Duffy would be EPIC! Is it possible to force them to sit beside each other?

  12. does a senator need to have a physical body? if not, I nominate the Voice in PM's head!

  13. AVR

    (Unless AVR is already a conservative senator, which would explain quite a bit).

  14. How about Dion's wife – she would make a fine addition to the senate and she has just earned it!

    • Wow. That's original. How about we ask Scott Feschuk to write for Macleans, while we're at it?

    • Did you just read the title of the post and skip directly to the comments??

      • My money is on "didn't know who Dion's wife is"…. am I right?

  15. Dean Del Maestro — having realized that changing the senate's makeup would require a structural change to our constitution, Harper hopes to short circuit this by having to tear down the red Chamber for extra support beams, and then just have the Economic Action Plan run out of money before it can be rebuilt.

  16. Danny Williams
    Serena Williams (in 2011)
    Lucinda WIlliams

  17. Hire someone who is exactly 30. Any shortcomings in credentials will be made up for in the next 45 years of on the job training. Ensure that someone is properly partisan, and that is a legacy that will perhaps outlive Steven Harper himself.

    • If that's the credential Pierre Poilievre it shall be!

      • That would certainly be a bit of a tar baby for the Prime Minister's legacy

    • they already hired him from the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples. nothing makes canadians happier about the senate then when we buy 30 yr olds porshes.

  18. Wayne Gretzky.

    I hear he's got time on his hands, would be someone for Jacques Demers to coach (sorry, Wayne, you were a better player than coach), and would keep up the good Senate tradition of spending months in warmer climes.

    • Wayne Gretzky chose to leave Canada for L.A., St. Louis, New York and Arizona.
      Wayne Gretzky lives in the USA.
      Wayne Gretzky educated his children in America.
      He hangs out with celebrities doing celebrity things.
      He likes wine … and you never see him at Tim's.
      Wayne Gretzky. Just Visiting. (He's just in it for himself.)

    • Plus I'm pretty sure he could still beat Dryden like a rented mule in the Parliamentary hockey challenge.

      • right on!

    • He's publicly stated he's not coming back to Canada; albeit, it's not as if most of our senators spend a lot of time in Ottawa, though it would be difficult to then accuse ignatieff of "just visiting"

  19. Either psiclone, jolyon or wilson. They've earned it.

  20. If Wayne's not available, how about Conrad Black? He's well versed in Quebec politics (after writing a massive biography of Duplessis and would offer a chance for the PM to say he's offering an olive branch to the media. Moreover, Black has time to write at least 18 memos rebutting Colvin's testimony.

    • Added bonus, making Conrad further regret having renounced his Canadian citizenship. Also, being a member of the Canadian Senate would be a nice footnote to his House of Lords stationary.

  21. Wajid Khan.
    Just to hear the speaker do an angry James Kirk impression every time there's a roll call. K-h-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-n.

  22. Bill Belicheck, and immediately make him Senate Whip.

    That would take tactical voting to a whole 'nother level.

  23. There is only one name that would dramatically change the game next time we come across coalition/constitutional challenges: Michaelle Jean!

  24. The entire "At Issue" panel + Rex

    • His first name is Thomas. "T" for short.

    • Rex Murphy would be perfect, for everyone but the hapless folks in charge of transcribing for Hansard. As an added bonus, he could render the simple act of expressing 'yea' or 'nay' into a filibuster when needed (and probably when not).

    • Throw in Mansbridge too and I'm all for it.

      Probably the only way to get the slugs off the box.

      Unless …. " At Issue From the Red Chamber Live! Maybe! ". Gawd. No.

    • or just Rex; he's clearly earned it after all the water he's been carrying for the CPC.

  25. Following the success of that CBC goons on ice thingy, I'm thinking the seat would be best be filled after some sort of talent contest. Just think of it as triple-E reform (entertaining, engaging, and ending-all-pretense-of-qualification…..I know, that last 'e' has been taken care of already).

    The details need to be worked out, but such a contest would need to test the mettle of marginally famous nominees. Part beauty pagent, part performance, part proving you can stay awake for at least 20 minutes at a stretch, week by week Canadians would vote and the pool would shrink (spoiler alert: George Strombo has to withdraw from competion in week 3. He severely tears an emotional hamstring under the strain of trying to look cool, caring, smart and disinterested all at the same time…)

    The winner would embody the elusive mix of vacant intellect, popularity, and the ability to unify a nation as we join in a heartfelt WTF?!

    That winner would be Celine Dion, of course.

  26. A Liberal sitting on the Liberal side.

  27. Thatcher[ thecat]…perfectly quaified…is house trained, and as a bonus doesn’t require a dacha outside of Ottawa..if not lively enough for you then Cheddar…who does require a dacha outside of Ottawa.

    • …you didn' t get the text did you?

    • …You didn't get the text, did you?

      • Er…no.Inever actually read what Scott writes…obviously i missed something…was it exciting?

        • Well, either Thatcher (the cat) or The Right Honourable, Baroness Thatcher, Former Prime minister of the United Kingdom is dead.

  28. Ross Rebagliati: Cons really need to turn this guy around. Snowboarder, smoker and now Lib candidate? Cons should be scared, ver very scared.

  29. And now my reallt really serious suggestion:

    Mulroney[ Brian] The other one can ba bach-up.

    Win, win all around. He gets to sit in shiny red seats that ressemble thrones, get paid over the table, and enthrall a captive audience other than us -we get to pretend he no longer exists.
    There is the risk however that having Brian and Duffy in the house might contravene some UN regulation on Torturing unelected senators.

    • Oh god…i think my typos and spelling has let me down again.

  30. Preston Manning

  31. Michael Ignatieff. Right now, I bet he'd take the job too. He's fundamentally a right-wing guy who agrees with Harper on anything of importance, it would buy the Cons another year in government, enrage Liberals (which is really the point, isn't it?), and I really don't think Iggy's cut out for his current position.

  32. If he's trying to kill the senate, go for broke:

    Tom Green

  33. Ooh, I'm gonna win Scott's prize.

    I nominate …

    Pamela Anderson. Canada's most visible celebrity; currently low on cash and big on silicone, and the photo opps — wouldn't you rather see HER posing with a lacrosse sweater than Big Ol Steve? She could cut the national debt by dispensing FREE make up and fashion advice to Prime Minister Guy Liner.

    She won't really care if Max forgets his briefs at her house.

    Anyone who's seen her sex tape with Tommy, or her Playboy spreads, knows she has nothing to hide. Or if she does, we know where it is….

    PLUS, Feschuk — she has BREASTS, great big ones, and she ain't afeard of showin' em. The whole pomegranate, not just a teaser like Couillard.

    • Sit her beside Mac Harb. That would seal it.

  34. Mike Harris! Ha ha!

    Wait – oh, god, please nobody repeat that suggestion within a thousand miles of Ottawa. What have I done?

  35. For that matter, he should just randomly pick an out-of-work MuchMusic VJ. What's Erica Ehm up to these day? Or Steve Anthony? Ed the Sock?

    • I don't think Ed would take a Senate seat. He's more likely to be a good replacement for Harper when they need a new leader.

  36. Adam Lambert – someone really does need to keep a leash on that Duffy.

  37. Charles McVety – he's earned it – has great influence on Harper

  38. Senator Jane Viper has a ring to it….

  39. Lou Dobbs

  40. Got it……How about a French handicap native inflatable doll with a programmed digital playback device built-in!

  41. A couple of suggestions: Wayne Gretzky, he doesn't have anything to do. Ron Joyce, since PM seems to love Timmies. Ed Werenich, we have hockey players, how about a curler?

  42. Roll the dice …. Bill Casey.


  44. Princess Leia. You could chain her around Mike Duffy's neck, like in the movie.

    • Priceless!!!

    • Priceless!

    • I always thought the Senate would benefit from a pirate or two.

      • Not enough plundering as it is?

    • I think they need to keep him on the down-low until the Afghan thing if figured out.

  45. Outside the CPC and of course CTV I cant think of any Canadian so lacking in moral standards as to be qualified for a Harper senate appointment. Of course the standard set by Duffy, Wallin and the rest is so low that most conservatives should qualify. If not he can always ask some Ottawa street walker though even hookers probably have more integrity than the aforementioned Duffy and Wallin. Their profession may not be legal but they almost certainly deliver more value for the money than Harper's senate appointments.

  46. The entire cast from Corner Gas, they seemed like they knew what they were talking about, and now they all need jobs anyways

    • Oscar Leroy saying Jackass all the time in the senate would be entertaining.

  47. Dick Richards…He's been the backbone of news site commenting for years

    • Dick Richards would have my vote

  48. Don Cherry

    • Love your name.

  49. Scott Feschuk. Killer speeches, y'know. Lots of the funny.

    Prize, please.

  50. Mark Steyn!

  51. William Shatner…what more can I say.

  52. For Newfoundland, former Conservative MP and Grand-Falls Windsor Mayor Rex Barnes, For New Brunswick former Premier Bernard Lord, in Quebec former MP Andre Bachand or party loyalist and ADQ leadership contender Myriam Taschereau, and for Ontario, long term MPP and Senate reform advocate Bob Runciman and former candidate Hugh Arrison

  53. What about Tie Domi and Belinda… Domi is out of work with Battle of the Blades over and still paying off his divorce…

    • Not a bad idea, Belinda could sit as a Liberal one week and a Conservative the next, she could play musical Senate chairs.

  54. Although the contest is over, I don't care. I vote for Captain Picard. In character and uniform whilst in the chamber. Must vote in favour of bills by saying "make it so."

    I am a nerd.

    • Well, if that's not an invitation to waste a bit of time, I don't know what is.

      Let's see, Baird as Whorf, Clement as a tribble…

      Other suggestions?

      • Harper as data…if he can find some more of that NAC make-up again?

        • And Ignatieff has to be a shoo-in for Spock.

        • Quite a resemblance there, now that you mention it.

          Iggy as Spock?


    When it comes to judging these things, I try to be honest and pick the entry that amused me most – the one that generated the most genuine and immediate reaction. And in this case, it's Con Man's. I'm pretty sure he's not trying to be funny, but for some reason it cracked me up to witness the solemnity with which he took on the assignment and the comprehensive nature of his reply. God – Bob Runciman! You can't make this stuff up.

    So congratulations (of a sort), Con Man. Please send your address to me at sfeschuk AT sympatico DOT ca and I'll send off your reward.

    • 100 Strowger Boulevard, Suite 101,
      Brockville, ON, K6V 5J9
      Telephone: (613) 342-9522

    • Hey no fair…you didn't say there would be special consideration for unintended irony, or satire! Good pick. Made me laugh, and i don't know any of those guys.

  56. That Canadian MC from Jeopardy!

    Who is Alex Trebek

  57. Ben Mulroney. 100% more sexiness.
    Rick Mercer. We need slapstick.
    Leonard Cohen. Bring some life into it.

  58. Gerald Keddy; he could abdicate in favour of one of" those lazy bastards sitting on the sidewalk in Halifax."

  59. For some reason the press and the public have a double standard as to what behaviour is acceptable depending if the govt is Liberal or Conservative.

    Stephen Harper is just being pragmatic. The Liberals spend their entire tenure in govt stacking the Senate with Liberal supporters. Harper realizes that in the present climate it is impossible to have an elected Senate, as most Canadians want. So he must do the next best thing and try to balance out the partisan imbalance in the Senate created by the Liberals.

    • It may have something to do with Stephen Harper sitting in opposition, foaming at the mouth, claim that it was unethical and than promising to never to it himself.

  60. Warren Kinsella…the look on Mark Steyn's face would be work $175,000 a year (is it too late to collect prize?)

  61. The next senator should be Mr. or Ms. Abolition. This undemocratic, unelected institution, along with the monarchy are two of the most useless institutions that we inherited from Britain. The senate is based on the British House of Lords. It was put in place in Canada to watch over the common folk, represented in The House of Commons by MP put there by you and I.

    Put this "boys club", who are friends of the PM ,out to do a real day's work. Most of them are wealthy. The senate cost us $60million a year. Be gone senate!!

  62. I vote for Andrew Coyne

  63. some one in the same stature and company of the pro cons he heads…mulroney, robert latimer, karl heinz schreiber…get the picture!

  64. I like the idea of Rick Mercer in the Senate. Why not also Marg Delahunty?

    Or who is more adorable than Don Cherry, Greatest Canadian!

  65. Hillier for his sycophantic testimony yesterday protecting his and Harper's posteriors. The prisoners were just scum bags anyway and Geneva conventions only apply to good people like us when we are prisoners.
    The arrogance of Harper and Hillier is monumental.