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PM to fill vacant Senate seats soon

Look for Prime Minister Stephen Harper to fill five empty Senate seats before Jan. 22, Cariboo-Prince George MP Dick Harris said Tuesday.

Look for Prime Minister Stephen Harper to fill five empty Senate seats before Jan. 22, Cariboo-Prince George MP Dick Harris said Tuesday.

That's the date of a major Conservative caucus meeting and Harris speculated the prime minister would want whoever is taking those vacant spots in the upper chamber in place by then.

The appointments, according to the Canadian Press, are key because, with the five appointments, the Tories would secure control of the Senate.

As well as being a longtime opponent of the body, the prime minister continues to accuse the now Liberal-dominated Senate of hamstringing his government's initiatives, most notably in regards to the Conservative's controversial anti-crime legislation.

Currently, there are 49 Liberals, 46 Conservatives, two Progressive Conservatives, two independents, one unaffiliated senator (Anne Cools) as well as the five empty seats in the 105-member Senate.

In other potential government moves, the Canadian Press reported a minor cabinet shuffle is in the works on Parliament Hill.

Neither Harris nor Jay Hill, Prince George-Peace River MP and current government house leader have been identified as potential targets of a shuffle.