Thursday, June 4, 2009

John Baird Scoffs at Accountability and Appoints Friends

Despite all the blather about accountability, the Harper government clearly intends that the rules only apply to the opposition parties, while themselves are guilty of cronyism and nepotism in almost every department, and with almost every MP.

Guy Lauzon engineered a spot for his buddy, Dick Aubry. "August 1, 2008 - The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, today announced the appointment of Mr. Richard Aubry to the board of directors of the National Capital Commission (NCC) for a term of four years."

Dick Aubry was the publisher of the Seaway News, that printed so many photo-ops of the Cornwall MP that some people are now calling the paper the 'Guy Lauzon rag'.

Jim Flaherty
gave an untendered contract to a former Mike Harris speech writer and Jim Prentice replaced seasoned land treaty agents with his friends, including his former law partner, when he was minister of Indian Affairs. Tom Lukiwsdki got his buddy with the Saskatchewan Party, Elwin Hermanson, the top job at the Canadian Grain Commission. The list goes on.

However, when the Parliamentary crisis was in full swing and the government shut down, John Baird hastily appointed a few friends that were yet to cash in, adding new positions to the Toronto Port Authority to accommodate them.
This is a story that slipped through with out much notice but on December 22nd two new board members were announced:

Jeremy Adams
- a director of government relations for a tobacco company and a past-president of his university's alumni association, appointed January, 2009 by Transport Minister John Baird. He is a long-time Conservative Party member, having worked for Ontario minister Elizabeth Witmer, former Ontario premier Mike Harris and former provincial and current (as of 2009) federal finance minister Jim Flaherty.

Sean L. Morley
- A partner in the Business Law section of the Fasken Martineau law firm, appointed December 23, 2008 by Transport Minister Baird. He is a long-time Conservative Party member, and has worked in the past for former provincial and current (as of 2009) federal finance minister Jim Flaherty.

So much for accountability.
For Immediate Release
January 20, 2009 - Toronto

The Minister of Transport and Infrastructure John Baird announced Monday the appointment of a former Conservative party Campaign Manager to the Toronto Port Authority’s board of Directors.

The Port Authority which seems to serve as a continued shelter for Conservative Party insiders was quietly expanded last month without the consultation of the municipal or provincial partners.

Olivia Chow, Critic for Greater Toronto Area issues wrote the minister last December to protest the undemocratic expansion.

“Today it became abundantly clear the expansion was solely intended to accommodate the political agenda of the Conservative Party of Canada and not to serve the interests of all stakeholders close to the issue” said, Olivia Chow. “The Toronto Port Authority is supposed to be governed by a tripartite agreement which Minister Baird unilaterally ignored with this appointment.”

December 5, 2008
Dear Minister Baird,

Today your government locked up the House of Commons and prevented all elected Members of Parliament from tackling the economic crisis ahead of us. I was astounded to learn that on this same day you are proceeding by regulation to change the Toronto Port Authority’s Letter of Patent in order to add two extra members. This is being done without consulting your municipal and provincial partners, even though the Toronto Port Authority is governed by a tripartite agreement.

By unilaterally appointing two extra members, you have seized control of the Board of Directors in a most undemocratic fashion.

I urge you not to proceed.

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