Thursday, August 13, 2009

Deputy Finance Minister position left vacant by Harper for the summer

A development in the Finance department to note, Harper finally appointed a deputy minister of finance yesterday: "Harper names new Finance department deputy." The post has been vacant since July 8. Horgan, the newly appointed deputy minister, won't even start until next month. Does it make sense to leave such a critical post vacant for weeks? What does this say about the PM's concern for the economy?
Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Wednesday appointed Michael Horgan the new deputy minister of finance, instantly making him a major player in Canada's economic recovery.

Horgan, Canada's representative at the International Monetary Fund and a former deputy minister of the environment, will take over the position on Sept. 8.

The post has been vacant since July 8, when Rob Wright retired after 35 years in the public service.

Deputy ministers are the top un-elected officials in Canadian government hierarchy, and answer directly to the ministers in charge of each department. Horgan will be in charge of nearly 800 employees, and will be responsible for a very challenging portfolio.

"I think the country's finances are in the worst position in some time," said Don Drummond, chief economist with the Toronto Dominion Bank. (emphasis added)
The "worst position in some time." You'd think there'd be some urgency sensed by the PM then in appointing a deputy finance minister. Apparently not. And as Flaherty visits China this week, it might have been an idea to have this critical deputy minister accompanying him on the trip to China rather than politicizing Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney. When the Harper government is being criticized for doing too little, too late on its relationship with China seems Mr. Flaherty can use all the help he can get.