Justin Trudeau’s Director of Appointments pushed to include “friendly” COVID-19 advisory panel members in an email sent last year.
Adding that the advisory boards seem “more like sounding boards” for the panels chaired by departmental ministers including Navdeep Bains, Anita Anand and Chrystia Freeland, appointments director Hilary Leftick added that any “constructive feedback” does not need to be “necessarily public”.
Leftick sent the following email (excerpted below) on April 14, 2020:
SUBJECT: Re: advisory councils
…There are 4 covid-19 specific panels we are tracking. On interesting feature of these panels is that the Ministers are designating themselves as chairs. I think this is good for the following reasons
1. It elevates the panel and I think will allow advice to be acted upon sooner
2. It will allow ministers to ask the questions and get the advise they are looking for rather then what the department interprets what they are looking for.
Because of this I think we need to more than ever make sure the panel members get what we are trying to do/are friendly. Not trying to suggest we don’t need constructive feedback but that needs to be in the context of the panel and not necessarily public. [If] the minister is going to put themselves as chair they will wear the advice that they are given and [can’t] really distance themselves from the panel if we don’t follow the advice given. Having said that these boards seem more like sounding boards so far rather than advice givers…
You can read the full text of the quoted email below.
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