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P.E.I. patronage

The Story

It's an unspoken but expected ritual on the Island. When a new politician takes office he turns out the old and brings in the new, rewarding those within his party with jobs. Turnovers are not carried out hush-hush but in a rather obvious and open manner. Liberal politician Joe Ghiz campaigned against the patronage policy. But despite his promises the tradition seems to be continuing under his rule. CBC Television has this report on the province's not-so-secret political improprieties. 

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: Jan. 9, 1987
Guest(s): Joe Ghiz, Tom Klewin, Jim Lee, Gary Webster, Henry Woodard
Reporter: Kevin Evans
Duration: 3:45

Did You know?

• A 1997 Maclean's article noted that it was common to fire dozens and sometimes hundreds of government workers with the change of government.
• In 1986, 118 claims of political discrimination were filed with the Human Rights Commission after the Joe Ghiz government took power and fired a number of employees with Tory ties. The Commission dismissed 64 of the complaints but found 54 of them to be valid. Upon further investigation and negotiation, 40 people received cash settlements but were not recalled to their former jobs.

• Patronage continued to be an issue in the 2000 election where politicians argued over the semantics of "patronage" and "familiarity." NDP MP Herb Dickieson said governments in office have long abused their power and run political interference in hiring and firing their friends and opponents. Liberal MP Wayne Carew said that hiring was not necessarily conducted along party lines but rather on the basis of familiarity. Conservative candidate Pat Binns said that the issue was mostly a concern to the media and not central in the minds of Islanders.


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