Saturday, December 29, 2007

Political Patronage

For the most part, political patronage appointments go unnoticed, as the public grows ever more used to the idea that one government is really not much different than the next. Remember, it was the conservatives in opposition whom condemned the liberal government almost daily over patronage appointments. One such appointment is that of Elwin Hermanson, former leader of the SaskParty. The Conservative government has appointed him to head up the Canadian Grain Commission. Hermanson is appointed to a five-year term, and, according to the cabinet order, his salary will be between $204,300 and $240,400. Not bad for a Beechy area Saskatchewan farmer. Who says farming doesn’t pay?

The annoucement made by Saskatchewan’s Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculure and Agri-Food, was barely noticed here in Saskatchewan. Regardless, Ritz claimed Hermanson was the right man for the job considering his leadership abilities. Hermanson’s leadership abilities are questionable. He was elected to the House of Commons as a Reform Party member and then quit. He was elected to lead the SaskParty and failed in two provincial elections in a row and both were mostly atttributable to Elwin Hermanson. In short, he failed to lead the SaskParty to the promised land of government, which I predicted when he first ran for the leadership of the SaskParty. He quit as leader of the SaskParty and quit again as he chose not to run for re-election for the SaskParty in the 2007 provincial election. The young and affable Brad Wall successfully lead the SaskParty to an historic win in the last provincial election and now serves as Saskatchewan’s Premier.

Elwin Hermanson is well respected and a nice person, but his leadership abilities have been questioned. He quit three times in his political career and that is the leadership Gerry Ritz speaks of in defence of this patronage appointment. Grant Devine is far more qualified than Hermanson when it comes to leadership abilities. When is he going to get his appointment? Regardless, I congratulate Hermanson on his appointment. It is a nice plum. If you are a farmer, get into politics and bust your buns for 20 years or so and you may get an appointment that well exceeds the cost of production regardless of your leadership abilities.