Did they have a choice?
A look at the Conservatives' recent patronage appointments
Kady O'Malley, Macleans.ca | Feb 8, 2007 | 21:32:00
OTTAWA - Last December, Stephen Harper's new Conservative government seemed to be caught playing old school politics. As veteran CanWest reporter Tim Naumetz noted, Continued Below
That promise, however, was made before opposition members rejected the Prime Minister'schoice to head up the commission:Gwyn Morgan, the former CEO of EnCana. Once that had happened, Harpertold reporters that he would be "scrapping" the commission and proceeding with appointments "in the traditional manner."
That approach appears to have carried on well past Christmas. What follows is a roundup of patronage appointments from the past made via Order in Council(not including judges, diplomatic appointments or senior bureaucrats):
·Just days before Wajid Khan announced that he would becrossing the floor from the Liberals to the Conservatives, Raminder Gill was appointed a citizenship judge. That subsequently raised eyebrows among opposition MPs, considering that the same Raminder Gill had run against Khan as a Conservative in last year's election. When Gill went before a House committee last month as part of the standard appointment review process, MPs discovered that his appointment had been fast-tracked - allowing him toskip the usual screening process. But when committee membersattempted to question him about his political activities, they were ruled out of order by the chair, Conservative MP Norm Doyle.
·Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay made waves in Atlantic Canada by naming former Newfoundland Conservative Finance Minister Loyola Sullivan as Canada's Ambassador for Fisheries Conservation - a position that was abolished in 1996. Nova Scotia New Democrat Peter Stofferlambasted the government for what he termed a "blatant patronage appointment" and Liberal MP Scott Simmswondered whether the job was a "golden parachute" for a party workhorse rather than a genuine effort to bolster international support for more stringent conservation measures.
·Appointed as a director of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, Vikram Khurana is the founder and president ofPrudential Chem Inc. If that name sounds familiar, it's because it is the same Toronto-based pharmaceutical manufacturer that caused Health Minister Tony Clement trouble when it was revealed that he owned 25% of its outstanding shares. Critics claimed that put Clement in a potential conflict of interest; Clementturned over his shares to Khurana last fall.
·In December, former foreign affairs minister Barbara McDougall was named to the Panel on Internal Trade; last month, shejoined the Board of Governors of the International Research Development Centre.
·Thenewest director at Parc Downsview is James Ramsay, who served as chief of staff to two former Mulroney cabinet ministers - Michael Wilson, now Canada's Ambassador to Washington, and Marcel Masse.
·Atriple helping of former Conservatives made it onto the Veterans Review and Appeal Board: former Tory MPAngela Vautour, who was originally elected as a New Democrat but joined the Progressive Conservative caucus(as it was at the time)in 1999; former Progressive Conservative MP Brian O'Kurley, who lost to current Conservative MP Ken Epp in 1993, andBrent Taylor,co-founder of the New Brunwsick-based Confederacy of Regions, who ran unsuccessfully as a Progressive Conservative candidate in the last provincial election. Taylor is a proud member of the Blogging Tories.