I am very excited about Senator and Candidate Smith and so is L. Ian. It is a beach head from which the Tories can launch an electoral assault into what remains of grits strongholds in Montreal. I have great confidence in Senator Smith.
Christmas came early for Larry Smith, who was named to the Senate on Monday along with Don Meredith, an evangelical minister and youth activist in Toronto's black community.
Both Smith and Meredith have taken the ritual pledge to support eight-year term limits and the election of senators from their province. But this is boilerplate -absent a constitutional amendment of seven provinces and 50 per cent of the population, Stephen Harper can't change the composition of the Senate, at least not without a reference to the Supreme Court.
What Harper is really saying with these appointments is that he intends to be competitive in Montreal and Toronto, the two largest cities in the country, where the Conservatives don't hold a single seat.
The Greater Toronto Area consists of two segments: the suburban area-code 905 belt where the Conservatives are already competitive and where former Ontario police commissioner Julian Fantino won a by-election in the former Liberal bastion of Vaughan last month; and the city itself, between Highway 401 and Lake Ontario, where the Conservatives have not won a single seat since the free-trade election of 1988.
Smith's appointment has the appearance of being the first in a potentially game-changing chain of events.