December 21st, 2011

Harper puts Conservative insiders at the front of the line, again

Christmas comes early for defeated cabinet ministers and well-connected Conservatives

OTTAWA--In the week before Christmas, Conservatives have been quietly pushing through more than 125 patronage appointments to various federal positions.

Headlining Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s patronage spree were appointments of defeated Conservative Cabinet Ministers Jean-Pierre Blackburn to a coveted job at UNESCO and Bernard Généreux to an influential position with the Quebec City Port Authority.

Official Opposition Ethics Critic Charlie Angus (Timmins—James Bay) and Treasury Board critic Alexandre Boulerice (Rosemont—La Petite Patrie) are crying foul.

“For the Harper Conservatives, there’s no better time to announce the appointment of failed candidates, Conservative donors and well-connected insiders to plum taxpayer-funded gigs than after the House of Commons has risen and in the final days before Christmas,” said Angus.

The New Democrats pointed out that rounding out the list of patronage appointees – to positions like Employment Insurance referees and IRB members – are 2011, 2008 and 2006 Conservative candidates and party donors.

“By continuing his pork patronage appointments to taxpayer-sponsored positions, Stephen Harper is sending one message loud and clear: Conservative friends get all the benefits while Canadians are left behind,” concluded Boulerice.