Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Harper's Hissy Fit Has Cost Taxpayers One Million Dollars Plus Change

When the Conservatives were drafting their 'accountability for everyone but us' act, they tried to pull a fast one, by making a long time fundraiser and Reform/Alliance/Conservative Party insider, head of the new
appointments commission.

I guess you might say they were using a patronage appointment, to oversee patronage appointments, or something like that.

OK, so Gwyn Morgan was willing to work for a buck a year, but with such strong ties to the Conservative party, it's doubtful he would have reported any of their wrongdoings; so what was the point?

However, strangely enough, he was rejected, not because of the fact that he was a Tory insider, but because he had made racist remarks in the past. Now c'mon. I thought making racist remarks was a pre-requisite for party membership.
May 16, 2006
CBC News

Amid concerns about his views on immigrants, members of a House of Commons committee have rejected Stephen Harper's nominee to head a new review board for public appointments.
Calgary businessman Gwyn Morgan, the former president and CEO of energy company EnCana Corp., was personally selected by the prime minister to chair the new commission.

Harper signalled that the move effectively kills the commission, a key part of his accountability and ethics package.
The prime minister said he'll likely need a majority government in order to clean up government.

Harper's tantrum should not derail appointments commission
The Hill Times,
May 29, 2006
By Aaron Freeman

It's my-way-or-the-highway with PM Stephen Harper, but the Conservatives detested this approach under Liberal rule. By abandoning his proposed Public Appointments Commission, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is providing fodder for those who argue his accountability agenda is little more than a public relations ploy. Harper's choice for heading the commission, former EnCana chief executive officer Gwyn Morgan, was rejected by a Parliamentary committee. In an ensuing temper tantrum, the Prime Minister swiftly announced the commission would be shelved.

Tories stalling on public appointments commission, critic says
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.
CanWest News Service
May 23, 2007

OTTAWA - 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.
The PM abruptly cancelled the patronage watchdog office in 2006, but it has spent more than $1-million since.
By Cynthia M√ľnster
The Hill Times,
June 15, 2009

The government should scrap the Federal Public Appointments Commission because it still doesn't have a promised patronage watchdog and has spent $1-million since 2006, says NDP MP Pat Martin.

The Conservatives promised the federal appointments commissioner in the 2006 election, but Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Calgary Southwest, Alta.) cancelled it in May 2006 after opposition MPs were accused of conducting a "partisan political lynching" of Calgary oilman Gywn Morgan, who had agreed to serve as volunteer chief of the patronage watchdog. Three years later, there is no new commissioner nominated and the Public Appointments

Secretariat, created by an order in council on April 21, 2006, to "lay the groundwork for the eventual establishment of the commission," is still operating
. The secretariat has cost taxpayers more than $1-million over the last three years, including $633,000 spent in 2006-2007—most of which went to salaries and $82,000 in severance payment for layoffs.

It has a yearly budget that's just more than $1-million, though for 2007-2008 (the last year that is posted) it lapsed most of it, using only $113,000.

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