OTTAWA – The man who once vowed he would never appoint unelected senators has now personally appointed more than half of those in the upper house.
On Friday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper named five new senators, bringing the total of Harper appointees in the 105-seat Senate to 53.
Harper has appointed 58 senators in total — some had already retired and one died in office — which is more than Brian Mulroney.
Harper is now seventh among all 22 prime ministers ranked by the number of people they've appointed to the upper chamber.
But in March 2004, Harper said: “I will not name appointed people to the Senate.”
At least one of those appointed Friday to the $132,500-a-year job did, in fact, win an election of sorts. Last year, Albertans voted for "senators-in-waiting" during their provincial election. Alberta PC insider Doug Black topped the polls.
Also among those named was the wife of a Saskatchewan Conservative MP, who committed suicide while in office. Denise Batters is the widow of Dave Batters. She has since raised funds for mental-health issues.