Thursday, April 27, 2006


Captain Morgan

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's recent choice for Chair of the Public Appointments Commission, Calgary oil executive Gwyn Morgan, is drawing mixed reviews.

Morgan, was recently named Canada's most respected CEO in a survey conducted by Ipsos Reid last year. He was also given the Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2006 by the University of Victoria. Finally, he was a finalist for Ambassador to the United States to Michael Wilson.

All of these qualifications don't impress some opposition MPs. Liberal MP Navdeep Bains is concerned that a person so close to the Conservative Party would head the appointments commission. Bains, the MP for Mississauga-Brampton South, told Canadian Press that Morgan had been openly critical of the Liberal party in a speech to the Empire Club two months ago.

Mr. Bains needs to realize that the Liberals aren't in government anymore and they no longer get to call the shots. Opposition is like the penalty box or consolation at a beauty pageant - it is a time for reflection.

Mr. Morgan does however have a few skeletons. He has publicly blamed immigrants from certain regions of the world for violence in Canada.

"Immigration has a social side as well as an economic one," he said. "The social side is all too evident with the runaway violence driven mainly by Jamaican immigrants in Toronto, or the all-too-frequent violence between Asian and other ethnic gangs right here in Calgary."

Poverty, police discrimination and lack of opportunity are not the root of this violence, he explained. The cause is that "the vast majority of violent, lawless immigrants come from countries where the culture is dominated by violence and lawlessness. Jamaica has one of the world's highest crime rates driven mainly by the violence between gangs competing for dominance in the Caribbean drug trade.

Morgan should stick to analysis business portfolios and stock options and leave the sociological examinations to experts. One of the gapping holes in his *theory* is, in the majority of the countries he is citing, poverty, police discrimination and lack of opportunity are the root causes of violence in the immigrants home country.

"There is no one better qualified to oversee a better, more transparent, more professional selection process for government appointments across all federal departments and agencies," he said.

The really galling aspect of the Morgan appointment however is his salary. Harper is particularly proud of the fact that he is working on the cheap.

"What's more, he's going to do the job for a dollar a year," a point that brought enthusiastic applause from the crowd.

This is a sad comment on the job. Any job that comes with a salary of $1 per year can only go to two types of people: token, partisan appointees or extremely wealthy individuals. Canadians should be concerned about Harper's glee in the cheap labour.

We should compensate Morgan with a professional wage and let him decide if he wants to accept it. Public service shouldn't be driven by the quest for wealth, but we should compensate those who serve their country. Morgan could chose to donate his salary to charity or give it back to government. Either way, at least he would be compensated and we could hold him to standards. A dollar per year is an insult to public service in this country.

I actually agree with your comment on a dollar a day salary. I remember when Belinda ran in the Conservative leadership election (Belinda who?) and she waid she'd donate her salary to charity. I thought that was nothing but a kick in the nuts to the rest of us. It's a hollow and condescending gesture.
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