Merrifield Firing Should Spur Creation of Independent Appointments Commission

MERRIFIELD FIRING SHOULD SPUR CREATION OF INDEPENDENT APPOINTMENTS COMMISSION 

Following the firing of Alberta’s Senior Representative to the U.S. by the NDP government, Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann is once again calling for the creation of an independent public appointments commission to manage the recruitment and vetting process for candidates seeking appointments to agencies, boards and commissions and other key provincial positions.

“For decades, the former PC administration presided over an increasingly flawed and discredited public appointments process whereby political party affiliation gradually came to trump skill and experience,” says Swann. “We now have a tremendous opportunity in the first year of this new Alberta government to fix this repugnant aspect of the PC legacy.”

Alberta Liberals have long advocated for an independent appointments commission modeled after Ontario’s Public Appointments Secretariat. Such an idea has enjoyed support at all levels of government and among those of every political stripe.

Swann notes that there are important lessons to be learned from both Rob Merrifield’s hiring and dismissal.

Here you had an individual whose appointment seemed to be based solely on his connection to the former premier. When Albertans elected a new government, he was promptly shown the door,” says Swann.

“At no point in this entire saga was there ever any independent review of whether he was the right person – or indeed the wrong person – for the job. We can and should do better than that, and the obvious solution is having an independent commission pick the best candidate for the job among all interested and qualified persons.

Swann questioned Premier Notley about the creation of an independent appointments commission during the summer session.