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Why wasn’t public told?

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1 Why wasn’t public told? on Wed May 12, 2010 8:14 am

grumpy old man

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Former premier Gary Doer and his cabinet gave a plum position to then-finance minister Greg Selinger’s wife three years ago.

No matter how you slice that and no matter how qualified Selinger’s wife Claudette Toupin was for the job she got in June 2007, there is at least an appearance of a conflict of interest.

Selinger’s cabinet colleagues appointed his wife to a high-ranking job that paid $101,204 in 2007.

It doesn’t matter that Selinger excused himself from the cabinet room when the appointment was made. The bottom line is his wife got a cushy job from her husband’s political colleagues.

Finance Minister Rosann Wowchuk tried to defend the appointment Tuesday after the controversial hiring was brought up by Liberal Leader Jon Gerrard.

Wowchuk said it was “reprehensible” anyone would question the hiring, calling it a “personal attack” that may discourage people from getting into politics.

Please.

Wowchuk said assistant deputy ministers and deputy ministers are never hired based on partisan, political appointments.

She’s wrong.

Her own government appointed Terry Goertzen as an assistant deputy minister of health. Goertzen is as partisan as the day is long. He was Gary Doer’s director of communications while the NDP was in opposition, has worked tirelessly on many NDP campaigns and was then-health minister Dave Chomiak’s special adviser when the NDP came into government.

The NDP also appointed the late Donne Flanagan as an assistant deputy minister. Flanagan, who passed away in 2008, replaced Goertzen while in opposition as Doer’s communications director. He also worked as a senior official on many NDP election campaigns and was the press secretary to then-premier Gary Doer for several years before he went to work for federal NDP leader Jack Layton.

The Tories made similar political appointments. They appointed John Carlyle as deputy minister of education in the 1990s. Carlyle’s position ended with the change in government in 1999. The Tories also appointed David Langtry as assistant deputy minister in family services to keep an eye on the department in the 1990s.

Langtry once ran for the Tories, worked on Tory election campaigns and became former Tory leader Stu Murray’s chief of staff.

His position as ADM ended with the change in government in 1999.

So while it’s true most senior civil servants are not political appointments, there are many examples of where governments do appoint based on partisan ties.

The clerk of executive council, the highest ranking bureaucrat in the provincial government, is Paul Vogt. He was a partisan for years before his 1999 appointment. He was Gary Doer’s director of policy when the NDP was in opposition and he worked on many NDP election campaigns.

So Wowchuk is grossly mistaken.

The difference with Toupin is while she’s a career civil servant, she’s also Selinger’s wife. And there should have been full disclosure to the public when she was given that position. There wasn’t.

Jon Gerrard is right, the public has a right to know when a senior cabinet minister’s spouse is given a plum position in the civil service, whether Selinger was excused from that part of the cabinet meeting or not. The appearance of favouritism based on family ties should be dealt with in the most open and transparent manner possible.

Wowchuk may think that’s “reprehensible.” I call it accountability.

tom.brodbeck@sunmedia.ca


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2 Re: Why wasn’t public told? on Wed May 12, 2010 8:17 am

grumpy old man

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How do such things fall through the cracks? Is it acceptable that a life-long bureaucrat, and wife of a senior cabinet minister, be offered a senior role?

Should all such appointments be vetted through a non-partisan committee? Is it even possible to create a non-partisan committee?

BTW Google suggests she is an ADM, Community Planning and Development.



Last edited by grumpy old man on Wed May 12, 2010 8:18 am; edited 1 time in total


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3 Re: Why wasn’t public told? on Wed May 12, 2010 8:17 am

Deank

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Jon Gerrard demands to know?


Do we have a leader of the official opposition or not?


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4 Re: Why wasn’t public told? on Wed May 12, 2010 8:22 am

grumpy old man

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Yes, I really am that Grumpy...

It's their, they're and there; in Canada it's colour, cheque, rumour and zed...

5 Re: Why wasn’t public told? on Wed May 12, 2010 8:23 am

grumpy old man

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Deank wrote:Do we have a leader of the official opposition or not?
He is doing what he apparently does best: blending into the woodwork.


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It's their, they're and there; in Canada it's colour, cheque, rumour and zed...

6 Re: Why wasn’t public told? on Wed May 12, 2010 8:29 am

Guest

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Nothing changes within the NDP. Doer gave Ginny some very, very lucrative contracts when he was king.

7 Re: Why wasn’t public told? on Wed May 12, 2010 8:47 am

rosencrentz

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Is it common knowledge that she perhaps is sleeping around? lol


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