Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Congratulations, Senator Segal

The Prime Minister's Office announced five new Senators today, including a couple of token Conservatives. One of them is Hughie Segal.

Those of us who were around during the Brian Mulroney era remember Segal as one-third of Canada AM's political panel, along with Senator Michael Kirby of the Liberals and New Democrat Gerald Caplan.

It's not particularly surprising that the PM would select Segal. The fellow's a Red Tory (he used to be Brian Mulroney's chief of staff) and a part of the Establishment (he's been in charge of the think tank called the Institute for Research on Public Policy since 1999), no real reputation as a firebrand. More of an intellectual, he ought to fit into the Upper Chamber pretty well.

The other Tory is Andrée Champagne of Quebec, who used to be an MP and cabinet minister (Minister of State for Youth) in the Mulroney years.

Lots of people have opinions about the relative utility of our Senate. Myself, I've tended to think about it as our equivalent of the British House of Lords, a prestige appointment for past work that might result in more good work being done in future (but don't bet the farm on it). As such, the best thing to say is "congratulations, Hugh."