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‘Stand up for accountability’


 

Conservative election platform, 2006The Liberals have repeatedly appointed insiders, in some cases completely unqualified, to important public offices. Liberal candidates and MPs have received appointments as heads of Crown corporations, board members, and ambassadors. Liberal staffers, including some of those responsible for the sponsorship program, have worked their way into key positions in the public service.

Canadian Press, last nightWeeks before Stephen Harper named some of his closest Tory friends to the Senate, his cabinet quietly approved a flood of appointments to federal boards that also rewarded party faithful. At least 20 of the 111 appointments made Aug. 4 went to identifiable federal and provincial Conservative donors and supporters.


 

‘Stand up for accountability’

  1. 20 out of 111 is a flood? It's barely a trickle. This is something to be concerned about?

    Or do you believe Aaron that anyone who donates a single dollar to the Conservative party should be excluded from any further consideration to appointed positions?

    • To be fair, the "flood" remark was from the CP, not Wherry.

      And furthermore, 20/111 is over 18% – maybe it isn't a "flood" but 18% of anything is a significant percentage.

  2. One gets the sense that the CP was simply trying to expand on the Harper-patronage narrative, had already written this article before any of these appointments were made. All they did was fill in the number at the end. The CPC could have appointed 3 out of 111 or less, and the story and implication would have been the same. This is a pretty shameful excuse for journalism.

  3. One gets the sense that the CP was simply trying to expand on the Harper-patronage narrative, and had already written this article before any of these appointments were made. All they did was fill in the number at the end. The CPC could have appointed 3 out of 111 or less, and the story and implication would have been the same. This is a pretty shameful excuse for journalism.

    • "Flood" it is not, but I think the point CTV and Aaron are making is that, once again, if you look at what the Conservatives said their were against with what they actually do, you'd think they were two different parties led by two different leaders.

      Harper was quite clear in that election that he would end the cronyism. That is why he promised to create a public appointments commission and commissioner to vet public appointments for quality not connections. When he broke that promise, he left himself the room to appoint his own insiders into important positions.

      If you can identify 20 as identifiable supporters, then they must be strongly and clearly so, i.e. the kind of insider Harper vowed not to reward with government perks.

      Harpocrisy at work again.

      • I don't think Harper ever promised that he would never appoint a person who had donated money to the Conservative party. Apparently that's what it would have taken to satisfy the CP and Aaron. That's just ridiculous.

        82% of these appointments had no obvious political connection. I'm perfectly prepared to believe that the other 18% were qualified people who happened to be Conservative donors. I see no reason why donors to the party should be excluded from consideration for appointments because of it. Or perhaps we should go and revoke all the judgeships of those who were appointed under Chretien, when 90+% of judges appointed donated exclusively to the Liberal Party?

        Other than the Senate shenanigans, Harper has made some top drawer appointments and has demonstrated non-partisanship in his appointments more than any Prime Minister in recent memory. He's reached across the aisle several times. This report and this blog post are nothing more than smear jobs from partisans looking to milk the controversy about Senate appoinments for all they are worth.

      • I don't think Harper ever promised that he would never appoint a person who had donated money to the Conservative party. Apparently that's what it would have taken to satisfy the CP and Aaron. That's just ridiculous.

        82% of these appointments had no obvious political connection. I'm perfectly prepared to believe that the other 18% were qualified people who happened to be Conservative donors. I see no reason why donors to the party should be excluded from consideration for appointments because of it. Or perhaps we should go and revoke all the judgeships of those who were appointed under Chretien, when 90+% of judges appointed donated exclusively to the Liberal Party?

        Other than the Senate shenanigans, Harper has made some top drawer appointments and has demonstrated non-partisanship in his appointments more than any Prime Minister in recent memory. He's reached across the aisle several times. This report and this blog post are nothing more than smear jobs from partisans looking to milk the Senate appoinments for all they are worth.

      • If you can identify 20 as identifiable supporters, then they must be strongly and clearly so

        Um…no. You can easily identify them from Elections Canada's donation records.

      • Not surprising that an Old School Liberal would be ignorant to Canadian Law.

        Party donations are listed with Elections Canada.
        Harpocricy is simply Liberals being hypocritical about what they remember.

      • I'd agree, 20 out of 111 seems in the acceptable range — as long as these people have the skills and expertise to fill those positions. Unfortunately, Harper has shown with his senate appointments that skill and expertise be damned, those willing to sign a (secret and not for taxpayers' eyes) agreement who swear to follow the party line (as opposed to serving the taxpayers whom pay their services) are to be elevated. And if they've raised CON money, accepted the Harperesque republican-style coda and will play politics as a game-to-the-death means to an end, that wins them the seat. To say he's just copying former Liberal PM actions is to deny the fact that Harper has turned it all into a bloodsport.

  4. Is 3000 appointments in 3 years a flood or is that about the average for a PM?

  5. I agree 20 out of 111 is hardly a flood… although those were only the obvious cases. However, the real issue is why has Harper not gone forward with a Public Appointments Commission or some equivalent approach to monitor the process. Politically it would have great advantages for the CPC in the next election. They could have even tied something nasty to it, just to get the Liberals to vote against it. Personally I cannot believe Harper would not have appreciated the political advantage of cleaning up appointments. It is certainly not the case that more pressing matters pushed it off the governments agenda… parliament has seldom been so inactive.

    Perhaps Harper just likes the power associated with making appointments. (Ok, lets not kid ourselves… of course Harper loves power!) More troubling, perhaps the Conservatives have figured out how to really make patronage work financially. After all, they took the in-and-out thing to an entirely new level. The political approach of this new brand of conservative requires that they significantly out fundraise the other parties. Perhaps appointments are now a part of that strategy. If so… Jack I think $1000 is way too low.

    • why has Harper not gone forward with a Public Appointments Commission or some equivalent approach to monitor the process.

      He tried to, only a couple of months after being elected. He appointed Gwyn Morgan to oversee it. The oppositon, non-partisans that they all are, shot him down.

      • When are you getting your patronage appointment, or are you already at the public trough since you seem to have an inordinate amount of spare time?

      • Thanks for pointing that out John,and helping to feed my conspiracy theory.

        Morgan has been a long-time fundraiser for the Conservative party. His nomination by Harper was one of his early "in your face" types of moves. Of course, the opposition did not want the "Public Appointments Commissioner" to become "Commissioner for CPC Appointments".
        Morgan would have been superb in the latter, he is smart, well spoken, ambitious and subtle. With him as Commissioner the Conservatives fundraising would have gone through the roof.

        • Except that they didn't shoot him down on that basis. They shot him down because he dared question the value of multiculturalism, and the opposition took a couple of out of context quotes to make him appear like a bigot.

          • That is true and unfortunate, but it does not change the fact that he was a poor choice due to his party connections.

          • It's also unfortunate that successful Canadian businesswomen and businessmen have so little incentive to enter public service. Whenever they do, they are often subjected to a barrage of crap-flinging like the one that Morgan experienced.

          • He probably would have been a highly partisan commissioner. Maybe he wouldn't have.

            Regardless, Harper did not work with the majority of Parliament and hurt, took all his marbles and ran home. The Liberals, the NDP and the Bloc have all shown quite demonstrably over and over that they are willing to work with Harper, as long as he isn't trying to bully them and demolish them.

            The fact that a bad choice for nominee was rejected, doesn't mean he has not broken his promise. Has he made one attempt again? Even the slightest hint?

        • Yes, why didn't Harper appoint someone, say, like Warren Kinsella?

  6. Mr Harper, you had an option, sir. You could have said, 'I am not going to do it. This is wrong for Canada, and I am not going to ask Canadians to pay the price.' You had an option, sir — to say 'no' — and you chose to say 'yes' to the very behavoir you damned so unreservedly in your opponents. That sir, if I may say respectfully, that is not good enough for Canadians.
    It is an avowal of failure and a confession of non-leadership.

  7. Mr Harper, you had an option, sir. You could have said, 'I am not going to do it. This is wrong for Canada, and I am not going to ask Canadians to pay the price.' You had an option, sir — to say 'no' — and you chose to say 'yes' to the very behavoir you condemned so unreservedly in your opponents. That sir, if I may say respectfully, that is not good enough for Canadians.
    It is an avowal of failure and a confession of non-leadership.

  8. I read the following blog on Saturday, but haven't seen any conversation on it.

    Saturday, August 29, 2009
    Finley Can Avoid Testifying re. Electoral Fraud Now
    Has anyone else is the anglo media or blogosphere picked up on Buzzetti's point? That Doug Finley's newfound parliamentary immunity will allow him to avoid testifying re. the Cons electoral fraud? I've only seen it referenced by Boileau in her editorial otherwise. Relevant text from Buzzetti below. Someone should mention it to Coyne so he can make number four in his itemisation of our political culture. And I don't know, maybe the opposition parties might want to mention it, if that's not too much trouble

    ………………………………………….
    So, could you Aaron, or Kady or Wells or Coyne deal with this and enlighten us on it? Is it true?

    Just curious.

    • Oh wow. If that is true, think of it! The next time a sponsorship scandal should break, simply appoint a rash of new senators! (I'm putting it into a Liberal perspective so the many Conservatives so inclined will take the smirk off their faces.) Please, don't let this be true.

  9. I wonder how many more years of Harper appointments to the Senate it would take for them to have a majority there.

  10. 20 out of 111 hardly seems like a "flood". But that is just the easily identifiable partisans and it clearly is a flip flop from his earlier pronouncements and promises and complaints about the Liberals. Meet the new (well, new-ish) Boss…

    What really matters though is not how many but where. When you are appointing 3000 bureaucrats over three years, you are bound to appoint some partisans and you are also going to have to appoint some non-partisans. So what matters is where they are being appointed. Did 20 cronies get deputy minister/crown corp. executive/judgeship appointments? Or did they get some lower end fare or specialist positions?

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