Arthur Porter, detained in Panama while he fought extradition to face fraud charges in Canada, died yesterday at the age of 59. He had reportedly been suffering from lung cancer.
Porter was the chief executive officer of the McGill University Health Centre from 2004 to 2011, but was accused of being involved in bribery related to the construction of the hospital. In 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed Porter to the Security Intelligence Review Committee, the independent body that oversees the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. In 2010, he was appointed to chair the committee, but the next year he resigned from SIRC after the National Post questioned his dealings with an international lobbyist. (In 2013, it was revealed that Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe had questioned Porter’s appointment in a letter to the Prime Minister.)
It stands to reason that anyone responsible for the appointment of hundreds of people will eventually end up being associated with someone who does something unbecoming. But after nearly 10 years as Prime Minister, Stephen Harper is now tied to a rogues gallery of appointees.
Dean Del Mastro
Appointment: Parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister, May 2011 to September 2013
Trouble: Last month, Del Mastro was sentenced to one month in prison and four months of house arrest after being found guilty of exceeding the election spending limit in 2008 and submitting a false document.
Appointment: Senator for Prince Edward Island
Trouble: Currently on trial for 31 charges, including fraud and breach of trust, related to expenses and contracts claimed as a senator. Suspended from the Senate in November 2013.
Appointment: Senator for Saskatchewan
Trouble: At last report, Wallin was being investigated by the RCMP for expenses she claimed as a senator. Suspended from the Senate in November 2013.
Appointment: Senator for Quebec
Trouble: Charged in March with fraud and breach of trust for expenses claimed as a senator, Brazeau is also on trial for charges of assault and sexual assault. He has also been charged with assault, uttering death threats, cocaine possession and breaching bail conditions as a result of an April 2014 incident. He was suspended from the Senate in November 2013.
Appointment: Supreme Court justice
Trouble: After Nadon had been nominated and sworn in, the Supreme Court ruled in March 2014 that Nadon was not qualified to fill one of the seats designated for Quebec on the high court. The affair later culminated in an unusual public dispute between the government and the chief justice.
Appointment: Adviser to the Prime Minister’s Office
Trouble: Currently facing charges of improper lobbying and influence peddling.
Appointment: Chief of staff to the Prime Minister, September 2010 to May 2013
Trouble: Well-regarded when he was chosen to oversee the Prime Minister’s Office, Wright resigned in May 2013 after it was revealed he had given $90,000 to Mike Duffy to cover the senator’s disputed expenses.
Appointment: Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, May 2011 to March 2013
Trouble: Admitted in March 2013 that his campaign in 2011 had accepted ineligible donations and resigned his cabinet portfolio and his seat. Ran in the resulting by-election, but lost. Earlier this year, the official agent for Penashue’s campaign was charged with violating the Elections Act.
Appointment: Senator for Ontario
Trouble: Previously questioned about his education credentials, Meredith’s treatment of staff is currently being investigated by the Senate and he was expelled from the Conservative caucus last month after the Toronto Star reported allegations that the senator had had a sexual relationship with a teen girl.