Wednesday, July 11, 2007

On Elliot’s Tory ties

I said earlier that I’m willing to give William Elliot a shot and the benefit of the doubt as next commissioner of the RCMP. While that still stands after learning the information below this now appears to be an even riskier appointment for Harper than originally thought.

But Mr. Elliott's Tory ties predate even his work with the Mulroney government.

In 1984, he was practising law with a large firm, but was also the president of the Ottawa West Progressive Conservative riding association when David Daubney was elected MP.

As far back as 1981, he was working on the campaign of provincial Progressive Conservative MPP Reuben Baetz, a cabinet minister in the governments of Bill Davis and Frank Miller.
I like the decision to go outside the ranks of the RCMP for the commissioner. But given the added scrutiny that such a decision brings it’s pretty risky for Harper to pick someone with such longstanding and obvious partisan ties to his own party.

A civilian commissioner is going to be under the microscope as it is. Elliot’s political ties will ratchet-up the scrutiny even further, and potentially make his already onerous task even more difficult. If Elliot has to make another decision like the income trust investigation announcement, for example, now it will be viewed through a political prism because of his partisan ties, rightly or wrongly. It puts him in a pretty tight spot.

I wish him well, because he has quite the tightrope to walk.

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