The Billy Hickey Rule
Back in 2005, the House of Assembly witnessed this exchange one day in QP:
MR. BUTLER: Mr. Speaker, it is amazing how the Premier went around this Province and said no more political appointments and we have not seen the end of it yet.
Mr. Speaker, my questions are on a political nature but it is not about kicking people out the door, it is about hiring them and hiding them away in the closets.
Mr. Speaker, recently the Premier's daughter's boyfriend, who worked in a political staff position in the government members' office, was placed into a public service position as Director of Communications with a department. Can the Premier tell the House if his potential future son-in-law went through a job competition or was he simply placed in the position because of his connections?OK, then.
PREMIER WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, we saw what they stooped to in the point of order that was made today. I have been accused, obviously, of racism and I have been accused of aspersing children. This is a serious matter for me.
We had an engagement party for this couple Saturday night at my married daughter's house. Now, for this gentleman from Port de Grave, of all people, to raise this issue. This is the man who was subject of the Steele inquiry, and I will tell you what Mr. Justice Steele said about this gentleman. In my view, the result was not to portray an impression of believability concerning the primary business of the allegations by Mr. Noseworthy. I am satisfied that Roland Butler gave Ambrose Stoyles the questions on the substance of the questions to assist him in preparation for interviews.
Now, let me explain the answer, Mr. Speaker. It is very important. So, we were not in the process of giving out answers to people who are going for interviews. This man is hired as a qualified person -
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!
PREMIER WILLIAMS: Let me finish. I need to finish, Mr. Speaker!
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!
PREMIER WILLIAMS: This government has hired this bright, capable, qualified, young man in a temporary position, which is a perfectly legal thing to do and which the members opposite know is according to the rules and according to the rules of the Public Service Commission. So, he was hired in a temporary position and he is eminently qualified and that is according to law and according to rules. Shame on you!
So, in order for people, who just happen to be personally well-connected members of the governing party, to get DComms jobs, they have to be hired on merit, in accordance with the rules of the Public Service Commission.
The PSC is in charge of maintaining a "politically neutral... professional, non-partisan public service".
So why in the name of Responsible Government are professional, non-partisan, public servants, bearing the grandiloquent title Director of Communications, writing, editing, approving, and issuing, through official government channels, partisan garbage press releases like this, this, or this?