Monday, September 29, 2008

Would you Conservatives please make room for the hogs. It is their trough after all

Let's take a trip down Memory Lane and remind ourselves that Captain Transparent quickly dropped his "clean government" mantra once he had a little bit of power.
The Conservative government is deliberately stalling the creation of a new body that is supposed to stamp out political patronage, so that the Tories can keep rewarding their friends in the meantime, a government critic alleged Tuesday.

"They'll be putting in as many appointments as they can, and resisting establishing an appointments commission for as long as they can, so that those appointments can reflect their attitudes, their biases, and their agenda," said government watchdog Duff Conacher of the group Democracy Watch.

Conacher predicted that the government will avoid or delay establishing a promised Public Appointments Commission, while it fills an estimated 2,500 positions with party friends or ideological soul mates.

And this would make Duff Conacher absolutely correct.

The Harper government approved 148 appointments to federal boards and agencies, long used as rewards for supporters of the party in power, as the election neared, The Canadian Press has learned.

Cabinet handed out the posts in three rounds, the first only two days before Parliament recessed for the summer, the second on July 30, at peak holiday time for politicians and political journalists, and the third less than a week before Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Sept. 7 election call.

Harper, who railed against Liberal patronage in the 2006 election, later failed to deliver on a campaign pledge to put an independent commission in charge of vetting cabinet appointments.

He shelved the idea after opposition MPs refused to ratify his nomination of Gwyn Morgan, a Calgary oil baron who is also a friend of the prime minister, as the commission chair.

It's difficult to determine how many of the recent appointments went to members of the federal Conservative party or to provincial Progressive Conservative parties.

Many have had no comment on their new jobs, but interviews and public records outlining the backgrounds of others suggest Harper was courting the party faithful in a number of cases.

Ahhh... how things have changed at Court. Steve, the great anti-patronage crusader, has discovered the trough and he couldn't resist. Just like his conservative predecessor who, after delivering the knock-out line to John Turner, turned his government into a patronage machine. In fact, Harper actually appointed some of Mulroney's old hacks just last year.

So much for Harper's promise of clean government. He's covered in the usual political slime. Except that he said he was going to end it. That makes Harper, once again, a liar.

Hardly surprizing stuff, but it might make good debate material.

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