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PM rewards three defeated Conservatives with Senate seats

Prime Minister Stephen Harper smiles at his newly assembled cabinet ministers during a ceremony at Rideau Hall on May 18, 2011.

CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS

Stephen Harper wasted no time in bringing back three defeated candidates, appointing former Quebec cabinet minister Josée Verner to the Senate and reappointing Larry Smith and Fabian Manning.

Minutes after he finished answering questions from reporters about his cabinet shuffle, the Prime Minister's Office sent out a release announcing the three appointments. So Mr. Harper did not have to address the issue in public.

Mr. Smith and Mr. Manning had served in the Senate, resigning their seats to run in the May 2 campaign.

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The appointments were immediately blasted by NDP Leader Jack Layton, who called them a "slap in the face" to voters.

"The ink is barely dry on their rejection notices and they're being appointed to the Senate," he said. "If you can't get elected, you shouldn't be appointed to the Senate two weeks later."



Mr. Manning is from Newfoundland and Labrador. He was elected to the House in 2006 but lost his Avalon riding to Liberal Scott Andrews in 2008. Mr. Harper then appointed him to the Red Chamber. Mr. Manning lost his second bid to unseat Mr. Andrews.

Mr. Smith is from Quebec; he had sat only briefly in the Senate and had always signalled his intentions to run for a seat in the Commons. He was not successful, losing his bid for a Montreal-area riding.

"Our Government will continue to push for a more democratic, accountable and effective Senate," the Prime Minister in a statement released to the media.

With a report from The Canadian Press

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