Wednesday, January 03, 2007

An impending appointment

Carol Goar notes that it's only been through the efforts of several federal leaders - and without any single agreement to cooperate - that Canada's election laws have been revised to reduce the impact of big money. But the new laws will only be as effective as the agency which enforces them...which leads against to the question of who will become Canada's next Chief Electoral Officer.

And the intrigue in that department only seems to be beginning. As noted by Kady O'Malley, while an appointment may take place by a majority resolution in Parliament, all prior CEOs have in fact been appointed unanimously. And it would be difficult for PMS to justify any change from that precedent for the moment.

But it's worth watching whether Harper will offer up a strategic nomination based on the CEO age limit of 65. Presumably no party would bother opposing a well-respected, neutral nominee in his or her early 60s to act as a caretaker for the next federal election, particularly given that the ability to take over quickly is a must.

That could push the decision on a longer-term CEO off into a future Parliament. And if Harper is gambling on winning a majority in the next election, then it wouldn't be particularly surprising to see a Gerry Nicholls-approved partisan put in place over opposition objections at that point.

Of course, PMS may yet surprise by nominating someone who'll stay in the role for a longer period of time (though in that case the nominee's record would likely come under far more scrutiny). But given the Cons' obvious Republican influences, both the opposition parties and Canadian voters will need to be wary of the possibility of Harper stacking the electoral deck. And if PMS is able to force one of his allies into the CEO position, then it may not be long before all the good work that's been done to try to clean up federal politics will prove to have gone for naught.

No comments:

Post a Comment