Liberal patronage practice takes Nova Scotia back to the past

December 4, 2013

(Halifax, NS) The last time a Nova Scotia Liberal government named a former political staffer to the position of Chief Protocol Officer, it ended up costing taxpayers thousands in a settlement brought against them for unfair hiring practices.

In 1994 the Liberal government of the day awarded the job of Chief Protocol Officer to a former party staffer, just as they did yesterday. 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.

“Twenty years ago the Liberals made the exact same job a patronage position and it cost taxpayers money,” says Acting NDP Leader Maureen MacDonald. “Yesterday, Premier McNeil said other people had come forward for the position. Is he certain that individuals passed over for political reasons don’t have grounds to take legal action against the province, yet again?

“This government has said over and over again they are about trust, transparency and change,” says MacDonald. “We know now, we can’t trust them to do the right thing and they are certainly not transparent when it comes to hiring of this important position. Change is the furthest thing from the Liberal plans, as practices of patronage are back to where they were in 1994. Clearly the Premier is putting Liberals first, not Nova Scotians.”