Monday, November 07, 2011

Consistency on merit based appointments

In the news this past week, we have seen that Senator Leo Housakos is not thrilled with the Auditor General appointment: "Tory senator remains critical of unilingual AG appointment." He's against the unilingual appointment, fair enough, the job requirement was not met and he joins many in that criticism.

But the Senator doesn't exactly come from a place of high credibility on the matter of government appointments: "Conservative Senator Leo Housakos has been in the upper chamber for only two years, but in that time a half-dozen of his friends and former associates have turned up in government posts -- including the No. 2 job at the CRTC." Defending this raft of appointments that coincidentally have links to him hasn't exactly been believable. For example, Housakos applied for his friend, Pentefountas to become CRTC vice-chair and yet Pentefountas' qualifications for that post at a highly specialized tribunal were panned at the time.

Maybe if Senator Housakos pushed for a fully reformed appointments process, his comments on the Auditor General might be more interesting. Otherwise, you might think he's just doing damage control for Conservatives in Quebec by being the Conservative Senator tapped to fly the bilingualism flag during the fallout from that appointment.

It's well past time that government appointments be made solely on the basis of merit. It's the way the rest of the world operates and the fact that Ottawa continues to be in the business of avoiding such professionalism helps to undermine our politics. Not that some of us really expect the Harper government at this point to act much differently. But it always deserves to be pointed out.