A Conservative MP has called on the Liberal government to publicly rule out giving former Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty a patronage appointment.
Alex Nuttall, who was elected last fall in the Ontario riding of Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte, made the unusual request Tuesday during question period.
Nuttall said the new federal government has filled its offices with one-time staffers of McGuinty, who served as premier of Canada's most-populous province for 10 years.
Dalton McGuinty appears before a committee on justice policy at the Ontario legislature in 2012. (Photo: Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)
"McGuinty has cost Ontario taxpayers billions of dollars in higher taxes, big spending, and gas plant scandals," Nuttall said. "After hiring every McGuinty staffer it could find, will the government at least promise that Dalton McGuinty never gets a patronage appointment? Yes or no?"
Pam Goldsmith-Jones, parliamentary secretary to the minister of foreign affairs, didn't take the bait.
"We will not confirm about a personal appointment for anybody," she said.
A senior Liberal source told the Huffington Post Canada this week that McGuinty will not, as rumoured, be named Canada's next high commissioner to the United Kingdom. Ex-British Columbia premier Gordon Campbell has held on to coveted role since 2011.
"We will not confirm about a personal appointment for anybody."
A former assistant to the Ontario premier also told iPolitics there is "no truth" to the rumour, which appears to have surfaced after McGuinty left a job with PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Last month, the government announced the appointments of two key diplomats. David MacNaughton, a former principal secretary to McGuinty and co-chair of the federal Liberal election campaign in Ontario, was named the new ambassador to the United States. Toronto lawyer Marc-Andre Blanchard was appointed ambassador to the United Nations.
Two former Ontario Liberal government staffers also have the ear of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Gerald Butts, a former principal secretary to McGuinty, now serves in that capacity for Trudeau. The PM's chief of staff, Katie Telford, also worked for the McGuinty government.
Another Tory MP bashes McGuinty in House
Veteran Tory MP Cheryl Gallant — who spends a lot of time in the House talking about the Ontario Liberal government — frequently throws shots at Butts, Premier Kathleen Wynne, and Dalton McGuinty in the House.
During a debate this week, Gallant warned "the same people who ran the corrupt McGuinty provincial government" now serve as backroom operators in Ottawa after having fled "the sinking provincial ship."
"And they promise to take the entire country down the same deficit-spending, tax-the-rich, let-them-eat-cake attitude that is so toxic in Ontario today," she charged.
The Conservatives' jabs at McGuinty may be particularly uncomfortable for one Liberal MP. David McGuinty, the ex-premier's younger brother, has represented the riding of Ottawa South since 2004.
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