NDP Introduce Bill to eliminate Patronage in the Protocol Office

December 5, 2013

(Halifax, NS) Today in the Nova Scotia Legislature the NDP introduced a Bill to prevent governments from handing this high-paying civil service job to a political ally.

The Act to Appoint a Chief of Protocol will ensure that the provincial Chief of Protocol is selected on merit and not for political purposes. The Act is in response to Premier McNeil’s decision to personally give his former Communications Director the $85,000 a year position earlier this week. “Nova Scotians are fed up with qualified people getting passed over, so others can cash in on political favors,” said NDP Acting Leader Maureen MacDonald. “It’s not right that Stephen McNeil is using the civil service as his own personal Senate – awarding other Liberals for their dedication to his cause. This Bill will help put an end to that.”

In 1994 the Liberal government of the day awarded the job of Chief Protocol Officer to a former party staffer, just as they did earlier this week. In doing so they passed over a 35-year veteran of the Navy who had handled two royal visits and numerous tours by Prime Ministers and Governors General. As a result of that act of patronage, a complaint was filed with the Human Rights Commissioner resulting in a $67,000 settlement from the province.

MacDonald says it’s time to end this sad legacy.

“So far the Liberals and doing the same things they’ve done for decades – giving jobs to their buddies. They said they would be different and today they can live up to that promise if they accept this Bill.”