Harper government opened patronage doors before electionRecommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers
By Tim Naumetz, THE CANADIAN PRESS
OTTAWA - 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 pots 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 announced the election for Oct. 14.
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 angrily 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 exactly 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.