Doomed Harper government made 49 “future” patronage appointments
By Elizabeth Thompson | Nov 23, 2015 4:30 am
Former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s cabinet quietly stacked government agencies and Crown corporations with dozens of “future appointments,” and early appointment renewals in the dying days of its regime, many of which were only scheduled to go into effect long after the Conservatives were defeated, iPolitics has learned.
While some had been due to come up for renewal in November and December, others were renewed up to a year in advance of when they had been scheduled to expire and made effective the date the appointees’ current term was due to end.
For example, Mark O’Neill’s term as director of the Canadian Museum of History wasn’t scheduled to expire until June 2016. Last June, Harper’s cabinet renewed his $212,700 to $250,200 a year job for five years, effective June 2016.
John Badowski’s appointment as chairman of the Transportation Appeal Tribunal was renewed July 28. The renewal takes effect Jan. 1, 2019, and runs until July 29, 2020. The position currently pays between $174,700 and $205,500.
A review by iPolitics of order in council appointments by the Harper government found 49 appointments were made in recent months but scheduled to only take effect after the Oct. 19 election. Of the 49 appointments, 15 went into effect between election day and November 22. Six take effect today.
Another 28 are slated to go into effect between November 26 and January 2019.
- View full list below.
Of the 49 future appointments and early renewals, 29 were adopted in a single day – June 18, 2015. The earliest dates to November 2014 when National Farm Products Council member Michael Pickard’s mandate was renewed for three years, effective April 2016.
The move by Harper’s government constrains Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s ability to put his government’s stamp on some key agencies like the National Energy Board, which regulates things like the construction of pipelines and the import of crude oil and natural gas.
For example, National Energy Board member Lyne Mercier was due to be renewed in December. Instead, Harper’s government renewed the appointment for seven years last June, effective in December. In July, Keith Chaulk was appointed to the National Energy Board for seven years, effective Nov. 23. Both are scheduled to remain on the board until 2022.
Jacques Gauthier, a temporary member of the National Energy Board, was renewed in April, well before his mandated to expire in December. He is now to sit until 2018. Another temporary member, Michael Richmond, was renewed for three years last April, effective Nov. 1, the day his term was set to expire.
The moves mean that barring the future appointments or early renewals being rescinded, the Trudeau government will not be able to replace any temporary members of the National Energy Board until at least May 2018 and any permanent members of the NEB until January 2020 – which is after the next election.
Many of the future appointments could be hard to undo without risking litigation. Of the 49 early renewals and future appointments, 24 are conditional on “good behaviour,” meaning appointees can only be stripped of their positions for bad conduct.
Another 20 appointments, however, were made “during pleasure” meaning the government can terminate the appointment for little or no reason.
One reappointment, of honourary consul Ricardo Guimaraes, which takes effect in December, can be cancelled by either side on 60 days notice. Four appointments do not spell out the terms of the appointment.
While some governor in council appointments are full time jobs with six figure salaries, others may be part time jobs paid per diems of a few hundred dollars each time they attend a meeting.
Governments appointments in the dying days of an administration has at times been controversial.
In the 1984 election campaign, former Conservative Leader Brian Mulroney politically eviscerated former Liberal Prime Minister John Turner for making dozens of appointments that went into effect just before he called the election. The controversy over the appointments contributed to Mulroney winning the election in a landslide.
Liberal Senator Percy Downe, who handled appointments for three years for former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien before then becoming his chief of staff, says making appointments that run into the next government’s mandate is “unbelievable” and unprecedented.
“The longstanding tradition has been that a current government can’t bind a future government….You don’t make appointments that are two years ahead of time on the eve of an election.”
Downe said reappointments would normally only be done two or three months ahead of time and was surprised to learn that some reappointments done by Harper’s cabinet only take effect more than a year later.
“That’s way in advance. That’s unbelievable.”
Downe is particularly concerned by the Harper government’s move to block the Trudeau government from making any appointments to the National Energy Board for several years.
“I have never heard of the like of that ever – that’s amazing, that’s a big story. Particularly with the National Energy Board they were trying to tie the hands of the future government which is not fair game at all.”
Downe said he believes the government can cancel the appointments, if it desires, even the ones that were made subject to good behaviour.
“The bad conduct may simply be the way it was done. It’s unprecedented to do appointments years ahead of time.”
Cory Hann, spokesman for interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose, said it will be up to the Liberal government to decide what to do.
“It will be up to the current government to determine if it wishes to overturn any appointments or re-appointments made by the previous government.”
Officials from the prime minister’s office have not yet responded to questions from iPolitics.
|Organization||Appointee||Date OIC adopted||Effective Date||Minister who Proposed||Expiry Date||Action||Terms|
|Board of Management Canada Revenue Agency||Gerard Fitzpatrick||18-Jun-15||1-Nov-15||Findlay||1-Nov-18||renewal||During Pleasure|
|British Columbia Treaty Commission||Jerry Lampert||18-Jun-15||17-Dec-15||Valcourt||1-Feb-16||renewal||During Pleasure|
|Canada Employment Insurance Commission||Judith Anne Andrew||18-Jun-15||8-Jan-16||Poilievre||8-Jan-21||renewal||Good Behaviour|
|Canada Industrial Relations Board||André Lecavalier||28-May-15||18-Dec-15||Leitch||18-Dec-18||renewal||Good Behaviour|
|Canada Lands Company||Wayne MacIntosh||18-Jun-15||20-Oct-15||Finley||20-Oct-19||renewal||During Pleasure|
|Canada Post||Deepak Chopra||28-Jul-15||1-Feb-16||Raitt||1-Feb-21||renewal||During Pleasure|
|Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse||Leanne Lewis||28-Jul-15||7-Feb-16||Ambrose||7-Feb-19||renewal||During Pleasure|
|Canadian Commercial Corporation||Ray Castelli||18-Jun-15||14-Dec-15||Fast||14-Dec-19||renewal||During Pleasure|
|Canadian Human Rights Tribunal||Olga Luftig||18-Jun-15||14-Dec-15||MacKay||14-Dec-20||renewal||Good Behaviour|
|Canadian Human Rights Tribunal||George Ulyatt||18-Jun-15||14-Dec-15||MacKay||14-Dec-20||renewal||Good Behaviour|
|Canadian Museum of History||Mark O’Neill||18-Jun-15||23-Jun-16||Glover||23-Jun-21||renewal||During Pleasure|
|Canadian Museum of Nature||Margaret Louise Beckel||18-Jun-15||5-Jun-16||Glover||5-Jun-21||renewal||During Pleasure|
|Citizenship Judge||Roy Wong||28-May-15||29-Oct-15||Alexander||29-Oct-18||renewal||—|
|Commissioner of Yukon||Douglas George Phillips||2-Feb-15||29-Nov-15||Valcourt||31-Jan-18||renewal||During Pleasure|
|Courts Administration Service||Daniel Gosselin||18-Jun-15||31-Jan-16||MacKay||31-Jan-21||renewal||During Pleasure|
|Farm Credit Canada||Doris Armitage Priddle||30-Apr-15||26-Nov-15||Ritz||26-Nov-19||renewal||During Pleasure|
|Farm Credit Canada||Dale Johnston||30-Apr-15||13-Dec-15||Ritz||13-Dec-19||renewal||During Pleasure|
|First Nations Tax Commission||Clarence Jules||18-Jun-15||22-Nov-15||Valcourt||22-Nov-18||renewal||Good Behaviour|
|Great Lakes Pilotage Authority||Daniele Dion||18-Jun-15||22-Nov-15||Raitt||22-Nov-18||renewal||During Pleasure|
|Honorary Consul, Brazil||Ricardo Guimaraes||18-Jun-15||6-Dec-15||Nicholson||6-Dec-18||renewal||60 Day Notice|
|Immigration and Refugee Board||Robert Joseph Bebbington||28-May-15||23-Nov-15||Alexander||23-Nov-19||renewal||Good Behaviour|
|Immigration and Refugee Board||Haig Basmajian||18-Jun-15||23-Nov-15||Alexander||23-Nov-19||renewal||Good Behaviour|
|Immigration and Refugee Board||Anthony Peter Da Silva||18-Jun-15||23-Nov-15||Alexander||23-Nov-17||renewal||Good Behaviour|
|Immigration and Refugee Board||Edward Earl Aronoff||18-Jun-15||23-Nov-15||Alexander||23-Nov-19||renewal||Good Behaviour|
|Immigration and Refugee Board||Maria De Andrade||18-Jun-15||23-Nov-15||Alexander||23-Nov-19||renewal||Good Behaviour|
|International Pacific Halibut Commission||Paul Ryall||30-Apr-15||2-Nov-15||Shea||2-Nov-17||renewal||During Pleasure|
|International Pacific Halibut Commission||Ted Assu||30-Apr-15||17-Dec-15||Shea||17-Dec-17||renewal||During Pleasure|
|National Energy Board||Michael Richmond||30-Apr-15||1-Nov-15||Rickford||1-Nov-18||renewal||—|
|National Energy Board||Keith Chaulk||28-Jul-15||23-Nov-15||Rickford||23-Nov-22||appointment||Good Behaviour|
|National Energy Board||Jacques Gauthier||30-Apr-15||13-Dec-15||Rickford||13-Dec-18||renewal||—|
|National Energy Board||Lyne Mercier||13-Jun-15||17-Dec-15||Rickford||16-Dec-22||renewal||Good Behaviour|
|National Farm Products Council||Michael Pickard||27-Nov-14||25-Apr-16||Ritz||25-Apr-19||renewal||During Pleasure|
|North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission||George Hungerford||28-May-15||17-Dec-15||Shea||17-Dec-17||renewal||During Pleasure|
|Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Council||Bruce Chapman||30-Apr-15||7-Nov-15||Shea||7-Nov-17||renewal||During Pleasure|
|Payments in Lieu of Taxes Dispute Advisory Panel||Sandra Cawley||18-Jun-15||7-Nov-15||Finley||7-Nov-18||renewal||Good Behaviour|
|Payments in Lieu of Taxes Dispute Advisory Panel||James White||18-Jun-15||7-Nov-15||Finley||7-Nov-18||renewal||Good Behaviour|
|Payments in Lieu of Taxes Dispute Advisory Panel||Aletta Anne King||18-Jun-15||7-Nov-15||Finley||7-Nov-18||renewal||Good Behaviour|
|Payments in Lieu of Taxes Dispute Advisory Panel||Neil Tedstone||18-Jun-15||7-Nov-15||Finley||7-Nov-18||renewal||Good Behaviour|
|Payments in Lieu of Taxes Dispute Advisory Panel||Marian Tyson||18-Jun-15||16-Dec-15||Finley||17-Dec-18||renewal||Good Behaviour|
|Payments in Lieu of Taxes Dispute Advisory Panel||James Legh||18-Jun-15||7-Feb-16||Finley||7-Feb-19||renewal||Good Behaviour|
|Payments in Lieu of Taxes Dispute Advisory Panel||Surinder Pal||18-Jun-15||7-Feb-16||Finley||7-Feb-19||renewal||Good Behaviour|
|Prince Rupert Port Authority||Robert Bruce Ellis Hallsor||28-May-15||13-Dec-15||Raitt||13-Dec-18||renewal||—|
|Public Service Labor Relations and Employment Board||Stephan Bertrand||18-Jun-15||30-Dec-15||Glover||30-Dec-20||renewal||Good Behaviour|
|Social Security Tribunal||David Joel Somer||18-Jun-15||26-Oct-15||Poilievre||26-Oct-19||renewal||Good Behaviour|
|Social Security Tribunal||Raymond Raphael||18-Jun-15||26-Oct-15||Poilievre||26-Oct-20||renewal||Good Behaviour|
|Telefilm Canada, National Film Board||Carolle Brabant||18-Jun-15||15-Mar-16||Glover||15-Mar-18||renewal||During Pleasure|
|Transportation Appeal Tribunal||John Badowski||28-Jul-15||1-Jan-19||Raitt||29-Jul-20||renewal||Good Behaviour|
|Veterans Ombudsman||Guy Parent||28-Jul-15||11-Nov-15||O’Toole||11-Nov-18||renewal||Good Behaviour|
|Via Rail||Stephen Mallory||18-Jun-15||13-Dec-15||Raitt||13-Dec-18||renewal||During Pleasure|