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LETTER: So-called 'patronage appointments' par for course

'Governments tend to appoint people they know and trust, or have reason to believe will do the job,' says letter writer
2020-08-20 Doug Ford OPP announcement 1
Premier Doug Ford is shown in this file photo. | Nathan Taylor/OrilliaMatters

CollingwoodToday welcomes letters to the editor at [email protected] or via our website. Please include your full name, daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication).The following letter is in reference to 'Ford wants 'tough' judges, advocates for partisan appointments,' published Feb. 23.

I am continually amused by people and media who get upset by elected politicians using their power of appointment to appoint someone to a position where they in turn use their power of appointment.

That is the way a democratic system works. How else would one expect it to work? I have no trouble with politicians of other stripes exerting their powers of appointment.

We are currently being bombarded in the media for Premier Doug Ford’s appointment of two former Progressive Conservative staffers to the Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee, which falls under Attorney General Doug Downey. This is being blasted as a ‘patronage appointment.’ (Full disclosure: Attorney General Doug Downey and I were law partners for over 14 years.)

Governments tend to appoint people they know and trust, or have reason to believe will do the job. On occasion, they will appoint someone who has no experience at all in a particular field but brings a certain competence to a particular position.

Their arguments become even more ridiculous when the position is unpaid or has no known perks. After all, these appointees are appointed to serve the public. They spend their time and energy serving others.

Most often appointees tend to agree with the person making the appointment. I have no trouble with that thought, either. If you want to get something done the way you would do it yourself, you would naturally appoint someone who thinks the way you do.

In my opinion many of the critics are covering their support for other political parties by their clamour against Premier Ford’s appointments.

I have been consulted on appointments in the past. I believe that I have recommended based on competence. On occasion I have crossed party lines to make or suggest an appointment. On occasion, I have turned down an appointment because of lack of competence.

The wonderful thing about our democratic system in Canada is that we have free and democratic elections periodically. That is when the voting public has an opportunity to be heard. They are rarely wrong.

Doug Lewis