Thursday, September 08, 2005

Paul Martin's Civil Service Shuffle

The Prime Minister today announced some changes to the senior civil service. In a way this is more serious than a cabinet shuffle, since public servants tend to stay in their posts long after their political masters get shunted off. Let's have a look at some of the changes:

Richard B. Fadden shifts from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to become Deputy Minister (i.e. the senior civil servant) for Natural Resources, replacing Dr. Nawal Kamel. Mr. Fadden's job is all the more important because the current Minister, John Efford, has been plagued by health problems due to diabetes. Given that softwood lumber is a natural resource, expect Mr. Fadden to be very busy during the upcoming Parliamentary session.

Replacing Mr. Fadden as president of CFIA is Fran├žois Guimont, who was an associate deputy minister at Public Works. This can be seen as a promotion. Messrs. Guimont and Fadden start their new positions on Sept. 12th, this coming Monday.

Trying to get the new Service Canada ministry spun up, the PM has appointed Maryantonett Flumian as its deputy minister. Ms. Flumian used to be the Associate Deputy Minister for Belinda Stronach's ministry. She was also the Deputy Minister for Labour and Housing. Ms. Flumian's position is taken over by Munir Shiekh, formerly of the Privy Council Office. Service Canada is apparently being given a priority since Ms. Flumian's appointment is taking place immediately rather than on Monday.

Other appointments could give the simplistic impression that Canada's chief jailer wants to go fishing, and so her job gets taken over by Canada's spymaster. That's one way to interpret the shifting of Corrections Commissioner Lucie McClung to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and her succession as Commissioner by Keith Coulter, formerly Chief of the Communications Security Establishment. (I say "former" because Mr. Coulter had left the position three months ago.)

The priority given to Service Canada would seem to suggest that Paul Martin wants to have at least one positive government reform in place before the next election--something that proves he runs a different sort of ship than the one that created Adscam. We'll see if he gets it.