Peter Harder, DFAIT deputy minister quits

Peter Harder, the deputy minister at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), has resigned.

His departure letter was distributed throughout the department:

“Earlier this month, I indicated to the Prime Minister my intention to resign from the Public Service of Canada, effective March 2, 2007.

“Over the past sixteen years, it has been my distinct pleasure to have worked, as Deputy Minister, with five Prime Ministers, 12 ministers, six clerks and countless dedicated public servants in six departments.

“I have particularly enjoyed my now almost four years as deputy minister of Foreign Affairs and am extremely proud to have had the opportunity to work with you all. Your dedication, professionalism and commitment to Canada has both inspired me and been the foundation of the transformation our department is undertaking.

“However, after 29 years of public service, I feel it is time to move on to new challenges.

“I leave knowing that our minister, and the government as a whole, will continue to be well served by the leadership team and all employees of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

Johanne Gelinas, Canada’s environment commissioner fired?

Johanne Gelinas, Canada’s environment commissioner has left her position amid reports that she was fired over her forceful calls for action on climate change.

However, auditor general Sheila Fraser said in a statement Gelinas was “leaving the position to pursue other opportunities” and also announced a review of environmental and sustainable development audit practices.

Gelinas followed up with her own written statement on Tuesday:

“Going back a year ago, there has been a difference of opinion between the Auditor General of Canada and myself, on the orientation that should be given to the position of commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development. The discussions were in private with no interference whatsoever from the Government of Canada and its representatives.

“In the last while our discussions also centred on whether or not I should continue to hold the position of commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development. I was considering a future departure, but the announcement from Mrs. Fraser was premature and came as a complete surprise to me.

“I wish to state at this time that it has been an honour and a privilege to serve Canadians, through Parliament, in my role as Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development. I intend to continue to be dedicated to environmental and sustainable development issues.”

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