MacDonald: Liberals need to break pattern of patronage in selection of key government jobs

February 3, 2014

(Halifax, NS) NDP Leader Maureen MacDonald says the Liberal government must break its pattern of patronage in the selection of key government oversight jobs. In the coming months the province will be appointing a new ombudsman, a new auditor general and now a new Freedom of Information Officer. She says it is crucial these appointments are made solely on merit.

MacDonald made the comments after learning the Liberal government is not renewing the contract of Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Review Officer Dulcie McCallum.

“I have to say I was concerned when I read Ms. McCallum was told the Liberals wanted to make their own selection,” said MacDonald. “This is a person responsible for overseeing the actions of government. It’s imperative their office is free of political interference.”

The NDP would like to see the system used to appoint former Auditor General Jacques Lapointe replicated for the selection of oversight jobs. In 2005 an all-party committee was struck to appoint the new AG which reported to the House of Assembly. The committee was assisted by a professional recruitment firm and the Public Service Commission.

“Being open and transparent shouldn’t just be a talking point. It’s about putting a system in place so the public can be assured the best decisions possible are being made,” said MacDonald. “These three positions are responsible for scrutinizing the decisions of government so there must not be any suggestion of patronage in their appointments.”

She added, “The appointment of Glennie Langille as Chief Protocol Officer raised a lot of questions that the Premier has yet to answer. I hope this time the Premier puts the province before patronage.”