Liberals question Tory ethics
[PoliticsWatch updated 6:05 p.m. October 2, 2006]
The Conservative government came under attack in question period on
Monday for a number of recent appointments that the Liberals are
describing as patronage.
"This government is clearly practising a double standard,"
Liberal House Leader Ralph Goodale told reporters after
"They were elected on the theory that they were purer than the
driven snow and I guess now . . . it's becoming clear to
Canadians that they have vastly overstated their ethical
After spending the last few years in government and the last two
elections under attack for their ethics from the Conservatives,
Goodale and the Liberals are more than happy to return the
In question period, Interim Liberal leader Bill Graham raised
the issue of Tories appointing Conservative supporters to the
The Liberals say Justice J. D. Bruce McDonald was appointed
to the superior trial court in Alberta because he was a long-time
"While the Conservatives destroy the rights of individual Canadians before the courts they are naming their partisan supporters to high judicial
office," Graham alleged in question period.
Justice Minister Vic Toews defended his latest appointment.
"Mr. Justice MacDonald was first appointed to the bench by another
government," Toews noted. "He distinguished himself on the provincial court and the government appointed him to the Queen's Bench on the basis of his demonstrable legal abilities.
"If the member goes through the entire list he will find that there are actually some Liberals on the list who had been appointed."
Liberal MP David McGuinty said in the House that the judge
was "a well known Conservative fundraiser" who donated
over $11,000 to the Reform, Alliance and Conservative parties over
the past 12 years.
McGuinty said Toews promise as an opposition critic to end judicial
patronage is "nothing but Conservative hypocrisy."
MacDonald is the latest Tory judicial appointment to receive
In June, the Tories appointed Richard Bell to Court of Queen's Bench in New Brunswick.
Bell was a New Brunswick campaign co-chair for Prime Minister Stephen Harper's 2004 Conservative party leadership race and was a co-chair in New Brunswick for Conservatives in the 2004 and 2006 federal election campaigns.
The Liberals also accused Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay
of using ACOA as his "own personal fiefdom."
"The new vice-president of ACOA in New Brunswick is the former chief of staff to
Elmer MacKay and communications chief to Bernard Lord,"
said Liberal MP Geoff Regan. "What a coincidence.
"How can the minister explain to Canadians that Canada's minority Conservative government is appointing a friend to a senior position at
MacKay defended the appointment, saying the new vice president
"a very competent, bilingual public servant who has done incredible work throughout his career."
The Liberals also criticized the appointment of former Mulroney
cabinet Harvie Andre as a land claims negotiator.
"Was it because of his deep ties to the north or his extensive land claims experience?"
asked Liberal MP Tina Keeper. "No, because he has none. This sole sourced $300,000 contract was given because Mr. Andre is a former Conservative cabinet minister."
Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice said Andre was doing his
work at a "fraction of the cost" of the man he replaced --
former Ontario Liberal premier David Peterson.
He said he replaced Peterson because "his fees were excessive and his outcomes were non-performing."
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