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Liberals have given dozens of British Columbians patronage jobs since taking power

Dozens of patronage gigs

Since taking office in November 2015, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals have appointed dozens of British Columbians to patronage jobs.

The appointments have put high-profile British Columbians – some associated with the party, others not – into influential positions in the federal system.

Order in council records show 502 appointments were made between November 2015 and July 8. Many are superior court judicial appointments, which are a federal responsibility.

For the most part, the government matched the personal expertise of the B.C. appointees to the role they were appointed to. And the appointments cross party lines as witnessed in the naming of former Conservative prime Minister Kim Campbell or former NDP MP Murray Rankin to positions of influence.

Appintees include:

  • Ian Gerard McKay: businessman and former Liberal Party national director appointed ambassador to Japan;
  • Tamara Vrooman: former B.C. deputy minister of finance Vancity Credit Union and Vancouver Airport Authority CEO (and current director) and current Simon Fraser University chancellor appointed chairperson of the Canada Infrastructure Bank and chair of the Advisory Council on Climate Action;
  • Kim Campbell appointed special adviser to the prime minister and as chair of the Independent Advisory Board for Supreme Court of Canada Judicial Appointments.

While the majority of appointments involve directorships, many British Columbians have been appointed to past or present leadership positions.

  • Lawyer Suromitra Sanatani: appointed interim chair of Canada Post;
  • Douglas Hyndman: former chair of the B.C. Securities Commission appointed president of the Canadian Securities Regulation Regime Transition Office;
  • Marsha Walden: former Destination British Columbia president appointed president of the Canadian Tourism Commission;
  • Celeste Haldane: first Indigenous chair of B.C.’s Legal Services Society appointed chief commissioner of the British Columbia Treaty Commission;
  • Robert Ingratta: former CEO of the BC Milk Marketing Board and president of the International Association of Milk Control Agencies appointed chairperson of the Canadian Dairy Commission;
  • Derrick Yiu Wing Cheung appointed president and CEO of Defence Construction;
  • Businessman and consultant Stephen Swaffield appointed chairperson of the Canada Development Investment Corp.;
  • Restaurateur Vikram Vij appointed special adviser to the prime minister, to serve as an ad hoc provincial member of the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments;
  • Wally Oppal: former BC Supreme Court justice and BC Liberal Party provincial attorney general appointed special adviser to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to serve as a member of the Interim Management Advisory Board for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police;
  • Clarence (Manny) Jules: former Kamloops Indian Band chief appointed chief commissioner of the First Nations Tax Commission;
  • Jessica Lee McDonald: former BC Hydro CEO and deputy minister to former premier Gordon Campbell appointed interim president and CEO of the Canada Post Corp.;
  • David Paradiso: deputy B.C ombudsperson appointed interim chairperson of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police External Review Committee;
  • J. Pauline Rafferty: former Royal British Columbia Museum CEO appointed chairperson of the board of trustees of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights;
  • Chief Clarence Louie: Osoyoos Indian Band leader appointed chairperson of the National Aboriginal Economic Development Board;
  • Michael Robert John McPhie: Talisker Resources vice-president appointed chairperson of Ridley Terminals Inc., and
  • Janice Abbott: Atira Women’s Resource Society CEO appointed director of the board of directors of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.;
  • Taleeb Farouk Noormohamed: current Liberal Party Vancouver Granville elections candidate appointed to board of directors of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority;
  • Judy Rogers: former Vancouver city manager appointed director of Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (elected president), and:
  • Murray Rankin: former NDP MP and current B.C. NDP minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation - member of the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency


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