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June 26, 2017

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Portrait of Victor Oh, Canada's new senator

TORONTO -- When Canadian Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper formed a minority government in 2006 after defeating the long-governing Liberals, many analysts predicted a short-lived Harper regime that would last no longer than one year or so. But Harper proved them wrong: after seven years and two more federal elections, he has finally formed a majority government and is en route to becoming one of the longest-serving Canadian prime ministers in history.

A magic? Not really. It's just common-sense politics. The princely and handsome hockey fan, who makes Ma Ying-jeou pale in comparison, is able to put the right people in the right places. The 57-year-old prime minister places pragmatism above ideology. One example of his common-sense politics and pragmatism is his appointment of Chinese-Canadian businessman Victor Oh (胡子修) to the Senate — the Canadian version of Britain's House of Lords — making him the only ethnically Asian senator in the 105-member Upper Chamber.

Not surprisingly, the appointment was greeted by a lot of "Victor who" questions from the Chinese community, because Oh, who emigrated to Canada 35 years ago from Singapore, had hardly been a household name until it appeared in the nation's major media two weeks ago when Harper made public his picks to fill five Senate openings. Unlike the House of Commons, the Senate of Canada is an unelected Chamber. Oh steps in the shoes of former Sen. Vivien Poy (利德蕙), a Hong Kong immigrant who is the sister-in-law of former Canadian Governor-General Andrienne Clarkson (加拿大總督伍冰枝). Oh, 64, took office in Ottawa Tuesday on a 10-year tenure.

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