Joined: 02 Mar 2009
|Posted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 7:58 am Post subject: B.C. NDP partisan hiring spree 'sickening': Greens
|( we've seen this same kind of thing in Ontario and Ottawa , where the winning party rewards all there friends and insiders with jobs in the new government )
B.C. NDP partisan hiring spree 'sickening': Greens
Weaver lashes out: 'Offensive.' 'Hypocritical.' 'Saddening.' 'Crap.' 'Egregious broken promise'
Rob Shaw Rob Shaw
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Published on: September 27, 2017 | Last Updated: September 27, 2017 6:53 PM PDT
B.C.’s new ‘power couple’ — NDP Premier John Horgan (right) and government supporter/Green party Leader Andrew Weaver — would do well to observe the rule of law when it comes to jurisdictional control over matters like interprovincial matters like energy pipelines.
Green Leader Andrew Weaver and NDP Premier John Horgan. CHAD HIPOLITO / CANADIAN PRESS Files
VICTORIA — The B.C. NDP government’s hiring spree of partisan friends and insiders is “sickening” and the kind of hypocrisy that turns the public off politics, says Green Leader Andrew Weaver.
Weaver, whose friendly power-sharing deal gives the NDP the votes to stay in power, levelled scathing criticism Wednesday at Premier John Horgan’s administration for giving dozens of taxpayer-paid jobs to party workers and loyal supporters when Horgan used to strongly condemn the same practice under the Liberal government.
“It’s offensive actually,” Weaver said in an interview. “And this is why the taxpayer gets so disenfranchised with our political system, is that you criticize someone for doing something and you do exactly the same.”
He said it’s “hypocritical” for the NDP to stack publicly-paid jobs with campaign officials and well-connected loyalists when, as opposition, the party explicitly promised not to commit the same mistakes. It’s similar to the NDP’s promise to ban corporate and union donations, while still holding the cash-for-access fundraisers like the Liberals, said Weaver.
“I find it sickening and saddening in the same time that they continue to do this, because it turns people off and what we’re trying to do is get them re-engaged in our democracy, excited for a change and we see this kind of crap going on,” said Weaver. “It really hurts.”
Since being sworn into office on July 18, the New Democrats have filled dozens of assistant, ministerial assistant and communications jobs with former party campaign officials, Alberta NDP staff, federal NDP staff, union employees, NDP MLA constituency assistants and Vision Vancouver workers. The NDP also hired Kassandra Dycke, the party’s failed 2013 candidate in Courtenay-Comox, to an $80,000 ministerial assistant job.
It’s not uncommon for governments to hire friends and insiders to publicly paid jobs, especially as ministerial assistants. But Horgan in particular had railed against patronage hires. In 2014, then-critic Mike Farnworth (now solicitor general) dubbed the Liberal practice of giving defeated candidates and party officials jobs a “failures first jobs program.”
“The only thing that’s transparent and consistent is the B.C. Liberal’s abandonment of merit in favour of appointing failed candidates, friends and political insiders,” Farnworth said in a media release Jan. 16, 2014, in response to the Liberals hiring defeated candidates and party sympathizers to key jobs and boards.
On Wednesday, Farnworth said that “every government that comes into office brings in their own staff,” and the NDP is doing nothing wrong.
“We’ve only hired one defeated candidate,” he said, adding the NDP has taken a more measured approach overall to terminations and hires than the Liberals.
Some level of familiarity with NDP policies is necessary for new staff to do their job, argued Farnworth. “My ministerial assistants will be familiar with the policies we’re wanting to implement,” he said. “That is the nature of politics in the country.”
Farnworth said the government conducted an “extensive interview process” for the jobs. However, many of the hires still ended up being NDP workers including, for example, the B.C. NDP’s digital director during the election campaign, a digital campaigner, the Penticton NDP campaign manager and an NDP field organizer.
Weaver said the NDP has lost the moral high ground on the issue, and deserves to be criticized.
The new government also hired the NDP’s election videographer, Stephen Hargreaves, to a “video production” job in government communications. Hargreaves provided a video for a new “Better B.C.” government website and social media campaign — the tag line the NDP used during the election — that featured people thanking the new government for honouring its campaign promises.
Horgan complained in 2017 that the Liberal government was wasting millions on ads that only served to congratulate itself. “I can’t watch a hockey game these days without seeing commercials telling me all the great things the government is doing,” Horgan said in January.
In 2016, he called Liberal ads celebrating the party’s balanced budgets a waste. “What goes through my mind when I see these ads is all the good things you could do with that money — education or bus passes for people with disabilities,” Horgan said.
The NDP explicitly promised to end partisan government advertising by having the auditor general check ads to make sure they’re neutral.
Farnworth said the Finance Ministry is “working on options” and it’s “still very much something we’re committed to,” but the “Better B.C.” video is different than what the Liberals did because it’s social media only and no money is being spent for TV ads.
Weaver doesn’t see much difference.
“This is an egregious broken promise,” Weaver said.
“This strikes at the very heart of trust, in that you’ve argued to people that you can be trusted and you won’t do partisan ads and you will ask the auditor general to review them, and then you just put the same old out using a videographer from your campaign. It’s everything that’s wrong with B.C. politics