Canada's Parliament has two houses; one of them, the Senate, is now a major bone of contention between Prime Minister Harper and the lower chamber, which he prorogued earlier this month. There are 18 empty seats in the Senate, and Harper is planning on appointing people to fill those seats while Parliament is out of session.
Harper's Conservative Party has only 20 appointees in the 105-seat chamber, and has up until now favored making the body an elective office rather than having people appointed to serve until they're 75. Other people favor abolishing the Senate altogther.
(Hmm, not a bad idea, he thought as he eyed the District of Columbia meaningfully.)
Anyway, few people dispute his right to appoint new senators - but many agree that he's got some set of balls doing it.
It's a cynical ploy to shore up support in the upper house before January 26th when Parliament comes back into session, where Harper is certain to face a confidence vote.