Canada’s ex-Foreign Affairs Minister appointment to Barrick raises questions
Canada’s former Foreign Affairs Minister, John Baird, who stepped down from cabinet in February, has drawn widespread criticism as the ex-politician has recently accepted two high-paying positions in the private sector.
On Friday, Barrick Gold (TSX:ABX) revealed in securities filings that Baird would join the global mining company’s advisory board on international affairs. And on Monday, Canadian Pacific (TSX:CP) filed regulatory documents that showed Baird has been nominated for a seat on the transportation giant’s board of directors.
While in office Baird received a lobbyist sent by Barrick to discuss international relations, mining and trade with him several times — most recently in May 2013.
At the time, the gold miner was lobbying Foreign Affairs over “export credit financing with respect to investment and availability of capital” and other issues.
Baird tweeted Monday that he cleared both appointments with the federal Ethics Commissioner first and "got the green light" to accept them.
According to the Ottawa Citizen, if Canadian Pacific shareholders elect Baird next May, he will earn $235,000 a year, and potentially more if he chairs one of several committees of board members.
“What’s disturbing here is we’re seeing this revolving door between very key industries and the cabinet,” NDP ethics critic Charlie Angus told The Star. “And the lobbying act doesn’t cover this kind of movement because people are being hired as advisers, not lobbyists.”
Canada’s Conservative government has made mining a important part of its foreign-strategy in recent years, by launching new aid programs in mineral-rich countries and establishing an institute on global mining policy.
Stephen Harper’s administration has shifted resources to helping Canadian companies win deals around the world as part of push for what it called economic diplomacy.
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