While ordinary Albertans across the province are suffering from job losses and wage cuts, the NDP patronage machine continues after the appointment of failed NDP candidate Bob Hawkesworth as new director of Calgary’s McDougall Centre, Wildrose Shadow Accountability Minister Jason Nixon said today.
Only four days after the campaign period ended for the Calgary-Foothills byelection, Premier Rachel Notley has appointed defeated candidate Bob Hawkesworth to a high profile patronage position. Up until Nov. 3, Hawkesworth was still raising money to pay down any campaign debts.
“The NDP seem to be completely out-of-touch with the bad optics of yet another high level patronage appointment while Albertans across the province are hurting,” Nixon said. “The NDP promised a new a way of doing things, instead they’ve fallen into the exact same bad habits as the previous government barely six months after being elected.”
In opposition, Notley once panned these exact practices, criticizing the appointment of failed candidate Evan Berger just a few short months after losing his bid for re-election.
“We clearly had an example before where we had a former minister hired under the former Premier within I believe it was three or four months of him having lost his seat by a very slim margin… it was a decision that was made very much to bring on an old friend, an insider, and find them a soft landing.” – Rachel Notley, Dec. 10, 2014, Alberta Hansard
In August, Notley cemented the patronage appointment of John Heaney, a notorious NDP partisan insider from BC, to a position at the top of the civil service. More recently, former NDP communications strategist and AUPE communications manager was awarded the top post at the non-partisan Public Affairs Bureau.
“The message the NDP continue to send to Albertans across the province is clear: the only way to get ahead is to hold a party membership,” Nixon said. “I challenge the NDP to explain how their recent slate of hires is any different than the previous government installing its own insiders and failed candidates into high levels of the bureaucracy and government.”