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How are those accountability reforms coming along?

Not so well:

The Conservatives lied to voters when they promised a new era of accountability by ending the controversial practice of appointing partisans to federal agencies, boards and commissions, a government watchdog group says. Since the beginning of the year, the Tories have made about 800 appointments, many of them with close ties to the party, and there is still no sign of an independent public appointments commission, said Duff Conacher, co-ordinator of Democracy Watch, a group advocating government accountability and corporate responsibility.

That’s not a partisan politician or Party saying the Conservatives lied; that’s a non-partisan watchdog group – a pretty strong statement. But, you might ask, what about the much-balleyhooed Accountability Act that the Conservatives came up with in response to the Sponsorship scandal? Surely, that’s supposed to help, right?

Unfortunately, the Act is teethless at the moment, and its the Conservatives who are responsible for that:

The Accountability Act, drafted by the Tories in response to the Liberal sponsorship scandal, passed the Commons and Senate and received royal assent last December, but a separate cabinet order is required for many provisions to come into force. The wording is such that there is nothing forcing cabinet to establish the appointments commission.

To summarize, this was another dog and pony show designed to try and curry favour with voters from Deceivin’ Stephen’s bunch by giving the impression of doing something to clean up politics in order to get that vaunted majority. In truth, the Conservatives have discovered they like appointing their friends and partisans as much as anyone else, and have made sure so far they aren’t hampered from doing it.

6 comments to How are those accountability reforms coming along?

  • Can't see why anyone is surprised..

    as the saying goes..

    same shit different pile…

    there's nothing new about the new-ish tory government…

    Harper is really good with smoke screens, I just hope the electorate's memory is good enough to remember this why election times rolls around….

  • wilson61

    ''This is what politics and being in power is all about…To the victor goes the spoils.''

    So, true,  the governing party has access to the  public purse and patronage appointments.

    ''Tories have made about 800 appointments…''
    Well,  only 1700 more to go,  you did know that the government HAS TO appoint about 2500 good Canadians to positions, right?

    Oh,  and that selection committee, 
    PMSH had picked a chairman 
    (which, by golly, being voted Prime Minister of an entire country,  you would think picking a head of a committee would be within your mandate)
    and the 'let's p.o. the PM gang' of 4 brutalized the good man. 
    So get stuffed (as they said in the 70's)

  • slg

    Speaking of hyprocracy (sorry I had to cut and paste it – h/t Southern Ontario Liberal)

    Friday, May 18, 2007
    Page: 4
    Section: Editorial Byline: Kelly, Paul

    The Ontario Progressive Conservative party is up in arms about the Liberals spending money.
    Seemingly (and allegedly), of a $32 million dollar program a couple of $100, 000 grants have found their way into groups that have – brace yourself – Liberal supporters.

    You must be thinking that it would not happen in a PC government. Well, I beg to differ.
    At the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources between 1997 and 2002, there was a program called the Fish and Wildlife Protection and Enhancement Fund.

    It was a three-year, $10 million program divided yearly into $5, $3 and $2 million respectively.
    It was extended for another $10 million for another period of time.

    The first year it ran, it was for $5 million in unspecified spending but the projects somehow had to be linked to the crown jewel of Mike Harris's government – hunting and fishing.

    MNR district offices submitted proposals for programs developed with local outdoor clubs – a core constituency for the Harris Tories.

    The list was sent to a small group of Progressive Conservative MPPs for "review and approval."
    The group was the 'MNR Caucus' and it included several current Progressive Conservative MPPs.

    When the committee got the list there were two items they could not touch: $400,000 for Premier Harris's riding – a group dealing with Lake Nipissing – and some $60,000 for an advertising campaign with a high-profile angler with close links to the premier.

    To mess with those two projects was to invite almost certain career-ending death.
    Another tab was for a fish hatchery in Haliburton (the riding of a very powerful minister, Chris Hodgson). It was another $164,000.

    There were some other projects in the Haliburton region that came in for another $50,000.
    There was no end to the demands for more money.

    The MNR committee quickly went to work 'liberating' money. The first round was a 'rapid fire' round of killing things for what they sounded like and where they were. If it typically had anything to do with conservation or 'tree huggers,' it died an ugly death.

    If it was in an opposition member's riding it was killed with glee.

    This money was 'Conservative money' and was to be spent on Conservative projects.

    I could look at a list even today and tell you where it came from and who spoke to it.

    Once the list was tidied up and some money was freed up, these MPPs (and usually they were the only ones who knew about the fund) would come back with their own ideas or those of other government MPPs.

    There would be the small boat launch for $10,000 and the larger Lake Erie studies for hundreds
    of thousands of dollars.

    There would be a new release, photo in the newspaper and a lot of "Me and the premier brung you this cheque" giddiness.

    My own personal favourite involves a current MP and MPP. At the time Gord Brown, current Conservative MP for Leeds-Grenville, was chairman of the St. Lawrence Park Commission.

    Over lunch at a Yonge Street restaurant, he mentioned needing money for a project.
    I suggested a letter from cabinet minister Bob Runciman to the MNR might help. And, $60,000 later, it did.

    All of it was done perfectly legal.

    Contracts were signed, guidelines where adhered to, memorandums were approved, etc. The auditor could check it today – all rules were followed.

    Was it a 'secret' fund? No. Was it an obscure fund? For sure. Was it a 'slush fund'? In many ways, it was.

    So what is the point of all this? Well, the Tories raising a stink about this against the Liberals are hypocrites and, even more so, frauds.

    In the global scheme of multi-million dollar budgets – in fact, billion dollar budgets – this is all nickel and dime stuff.

    More so, if the Tories were in power they would do the exact same thing. I have seen it done.
    At one point in time, the Tories had the wife of a cabinet minister secretly checking on groups applying for Trillium grants.

    This is what politics and being in power is all about.

    The ability to throw around a small amount of money to groups that support you and that you are involved with comes with the territory. To the victor goes the spoils.

    I have no axe to grind with any of these people. I turned the page on this chapter of my life long ago. But this is a clear demonstration of the pot calling the kettle black.

    Nowadays with so few people involved with volunteer groups, it is noticeable the people who are involved in the political process and are also involved in local community groups, festivals and such.

    So you are never going to get an organization without one link to any political party. So are they to receive nothing? I don't think so.

    But to sit back and watch the Tories attack the McGuinty government for doing such a thing is a laughable sight.

    Laughable because not so long ago, they did – and would do again – the very same thing.

    Questions? Comments? Contact the author at:
    [email protected]

  • Meanwhile in Ontario, Liberals are giving sports clubs 10 times more money than requested, while telling parents of autistic children to get stuffed.

  • Well David, if you dont want to read it, you dont have to click on the link, now do you? Heh.. an attack on Tory hypocrisy  doesnt belong on Liblogs? Where does it belong then? Progressive Bloggers? Certainly not the Blogging Tories – they wouldn't dare criticize their Dear Leader.
     
    I'm not sure where you say I dont give credit to the original article – my first 3 words are a link to it  – I absolutely gave credit for the original article.

    As for the style of post, quoting an article and then commenting (and I AM doing it in my own words,I might add)  is a style many bloggers use.. and it is used to show my distaste for Deceivin' Stephen's bunch.

    In short David, you sound like a concern troll.
     

  • David

    Scott:

    It's a shame that when you post an attack on the Government you cannot come up with something original.  I generally enjoy reading your posts but this one I had already read.

    Why don't you either post original thoughts and comments, (even Garth Turner is original – out of touch- but original) or at least give credit to the original writer of the article.

    Posting this sort of attack is just petty does not deserve to be on Liblogs.

    David

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