From the what else are they hiding file

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On the Glennie Langille patronage post file, it’s looking ever-more like Premier Stephen McNeil could be caught with his hand in the cookie jar and still claim he’s not even in the pantry.

To the amusement of all, excepting the provincial Liberals, the NDP released information they’d acquired through the Freedom of Information Act: emails showing a concocted “rejigging” of her resume to fit the chief protocol officer the party handed her.

Having lost a bid for a seat as MLA in Pictou West, Langille appeared to be in line for a consolation prize as someone highly valued by the party. There was never any competition for the post, a fact that sticks in the craw of political opponents and much of the public.

In most people’s books, that’s blatant patronage. For McNeil, one might cite lack of experience. But political patronage is hardly a new issue.

The Liberals on Friday, in reaction to this revelation from the NDP, were still not apologetic.

McNeil countered that no rules had been broken in appointing Langille, his former communications director.

But Donald Savoie, a professor at the University of Moncton and an expert on public policy, said in an article by The Canadian Press that McNeil is missing the point here. For the sake of transparency – and particularly in a world where the public is disgusted by political cronyism – holding a job competition for such a high-profile position is essential.

What’s mind-boggling here is that principle is lost on McNeil and the Liberals. This is the kind of thing political lampoonists could hardly dare hope to have handed to them on a silver platter by a governing party. Then to have a clandestine email message about doctoring a resume added – nothing like a little extra icing on the story.

There is something to be said about not backing down in politics, because you’re afraid you’ll look like you were wrong. For the Liberals, in this case, there’s no escaping that impression.

Organizations: NDP, University of Moncton, Canadian Press

Geographic location: Pictou West

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