They gave money, ran, worked or volunteered as part of the Conservative cause - and they were rewarded with federal "patronage" jobs, the Liberals charged today.
Unveiling a list of 233 alleged insider appointments going back one year, the Liberal Party said the Conservative government has broken its promise to clean up the federal nomination process since it came to power in 2006.
The list includes a wide variety of nominations, from judges to board members. According to the Liberals, the patronage appointees all gave money to the Conservative Party, worked or ran for the federal and provincial Conservatives, and, in one case, live with and supported a former Conservative candidate.
All in all, the appointees gave $272,000 to the Conservative Party, and were rewarded with government positions, the Liberals said.
"[Prime Minister]Stephen Harper promised to end to political patronage, but instead he is obsessed with rewarding his friends in the Conservative Party," Liberal MP Marcel Proulx said.
Update In response, the Conservatives accused the Liberals of hypocrisy, pointing out that a number of new players in the office of Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff were on the receiving end of patronage plums under previous governments.
Chief of staff Peter Donolo and director of communications Mario Laguë received diplomatic postings to Italy and Costa Rica, respectively, while Heather Chiasson, the party liaison, was named on the board of the National Capital Commission.
"It's a little rich to be lectured by the Liberals on patronage," said a Conservative official. "All of our appointments, such as [former NDP Manitoba premier]Gary Doer as Ambassador in Washington, are based on merit."