Another senior bureaucrat leaves government to join Ignatieff

UPDATE: Ms. Beckton emailed me insisting that this story is absolutely not true and that she plans to take her retirement in a politically neutral manner. I put in a call to a friend in Mr. Ignatieff’s office and the Liberal leader’s office has no knowledge of Ms. Beckton’s plans. I called Ms. Beckton and she informed me that this has been a nasty rumour that has been spreading on the Hill for about ten days concerning her retirement from public service and it probably stems from her letter of retirement to Minister Moore. The rumour was likely constructed by other partisan actors and spread as truth (thus despite my double and triple sourcing of this story in various departments). I foolishly was perplexed by this, “How can this be untrue when everyone else talks about this as fact?” The first person I should have called – despite their senior rank in the government – should have been Ms. Beckton. I apologized to Ms. Beckton and she was too kind. I wish her the best in her retirement. My hope is that this blog has developed a new threshold and sensitivity between unconfirmed rumour and fact and that it will remain accountable to you, the reader.

ORIGINAL POST: I’ve learned that Clare Beckton, the head bureaucrat and the coordinator of Status of Women Canada – the department headed up by Conservative Minister of State Helena Guergis – will leave the public service to join Michael Ignatieff’s office.

Ms. Beckton has received a letter of offer from the office of the leader of the opposition and the political department at SWC is shocked to learn of her departure.

This poaching of a senior bureaucrat comes months after Ignatieff was able to draw another highly placed public official to turn to politics. Kevin Chan, the executive assistant to former Clerk Kevin Lynch, was a student at Harvard when Dr. Ignatieff was there as a professor.

Like Chan, Beckton has a connection to Harvard. A source close to Beckton suggested that she’s an old Harvard friend of the Liberal leader. Her bio at the SWC website confirms her attendance at Harvard, earning an MPA in 2005.

An official in Stephen Harper’s government when asked about the news explained that the government had no knowledge or insight as to how long Ms. Beckton had been planning the move. Further, Beckton plans to move to Ignatieff’s office in three weeks time, while holding a position overseeing government files and the minister’s strategic direction for the department.



  • wilson

    'while holding a position overseeing government files and the minister’s strategic direction for the department'

    Is she not required to 'quit' her government post ?

  • MaryT

    Guess this proves what PMSH said years ago, those working for the govt are mainly liberal supporters and will keep an eye on whatever he tries to do. Wonder what secrets files she will take with her.
    Is that the only way Iggy can get staff, steal from the govt.
    Is that how he plans to get a platform, find out the conservative plans and try to do better. Did this woman have to sign an oath of confidentiality for her present job. Bet she breaks it.

  • Liz J

    Perhaps we could call It simply going home. She may have a very reduced workload, even retirement.

  • wilson

    'Is that the only way Iggy can get staff, steal from the govt. '

    Need you ask! Look at how Iffy got the Lib ledership job…
    And look at what Iffy has to work with, half of his caucus is as experienced as he is…..never been in govenment.

  • Liz J

    Oath of confidentiality, like a person's word is only as good as the person who pledges it.

    It's hard to operate a successful business, let alone a government with people who are not on side. We can rightly assume the hoppers will take a few “ideas” along with them.

  • wilson

    Maybe the hoppers have ideas of their own that didn't make the cut under this government…?
    Maybe the hopper hopped before she was pushed…?

    Maybe Iffy just got himself a 'Jasmine'…lol

  • Greg Elmer

    Harvard Liberals! Time for a website ST!

  • Bec

    Well, this is one way to cut down on the 'fat' civil service. Let her go and get a fat cheque from the LPoC.

    However I agree that when you quit the govt ,you quit that day. None of this 3 week stuff.
    She can stay home and work on her tan and reacquaint herself with a life of leisure.

  • Jennifer Smith


    Oh, I'm sorry – I hadn't realized that we still had a Status of Women department.

  • wilson

    just visiting.

    'He wanted to be an assistant professor, was turned down and he then quit and left Canada.'
    And harvard awaits his return.

  • karol

    So it seems that Liberal partisan hacks are coming out of bushes (public service).

  • MaryT

    With the change in direction of politics in the EU, what if he is denied entry for supporting terrorists, aka the Tamils, like Rae was denied entry to Sri Lanka.

  • Lorraine

    Just a correction to a myth Stephen:
    Michael Ignatieff was NOT and never has been a Professor at Harvard. Sounds good on his resume I guess but he was the Director of the Carr Institute of Human Rights which is a privately financed think tank (like our Manning Centre) and just happens to rent a building located on the Harvard campus.

    In fact, Ignatieff has NEVER been a tenured professor anywhere. He was a “guest lecturer” during several of his book tours where he sold tickets at locations such as Yale, Oxford, etc. The closest he came to professorship was as a Teaching Assistant at Uof BC when he was 28 years old. He wanted to be an assistant professor, was turned down and he then quit and left Canada.

    The next closest he came was when he was parachuted into the University of Toronto as “visiting Professor” by Liberal backroomers in 2005 to give him a job while he ran to rule over the Kingdom of Canada.

    A search indicates Ignatieff’s best ticket to get a foot in the door at name brand universities was his biography on Isaiah Berlin. He is already selling tickets at 120 pounds per pop for a July 8 lecture on Berlin in London, England. The only thing Canadian about this freelance self promotion tour is that he got the Canada Club to cosponser him.
    So, these people who were students at Harvard while he was in the same geographic location at the Carr Centre were not students of Ignatieff’s as Ignatieff was never a Professor.
    Just hate seeing people lie and pad their resumes – don’t you?

  • Liberal

    “Wonder what secrets files she will take with her.”

    One day Taylor, you’re going to have to answer for the defamation you’ve allowed to float here on your blog.

  • True Conservative

    My lord, the comments on here make me feel like I am reading Michelle Malkin or Larry Johnsons No Quarter blog….Taylor, you gotta get the loons out of here, it devalues your site and your work…seriously.

  • A journalista

    Happens to the best of us. Lucky for you, a blog is easily corrected.

  • beaker

    Kudos Stephen for admitting the error.

  • Ted

    So Lorraine, are you saying the Conservative Party is lying or that it is incompetent by claiming he is a Harvard professor in its ads?

    While we know that the Conservative Party displays both in the ads – i.e. lying and incompetence – the truth is simpler. You are just simply wrong.

    The Carr Centre is a part of the John F. Kennedy School of Government which is a part of Harvard.

    Students of Ignatieff’s at the Carr Centre would graduate with degrees from Harvard.

    There is lots that Iggy can be attacked over, why go to such lengths to make stuff up?

  • clare beckton

    Dear Mr Taylor;
    I would very much appreciate it if you had the courtesy to speak to me before printing this totally inacurate report. I have chosen to take my retirement after serving the Government of Canada in a poltical neutral manner for over 25 years and as an academic for 9 years. I have worked effectively with Ministers from both the Conservative and Liberal governments. I have not received a letter of offer from Michael Ignatieff nor anyone else for that matter. I am very proud of my service to the Government of Canada and am very concerned about the suggestions of improper behaviour in your blog. if you had asked me I would have told you that I have no plans except to have some well deserved time off to think about what I want to do with the next phase of my life.
    I fully expect you to retract this story immediately and to apologize for these false statements about me.

  • Jason

    It’s not surprising since other than elected officials, and those directly hired or appointed by them, the Government is still the same bunch of folks who ran the place for all those years the Libs were in power! THEY’RE ALL LIBS!

  • Jon

    I must commend your integrity for your quick retraction and clarification. It is rare that such honesty is displayed so boldly in any form of journalism. The next question I would ask is who would make up such a specific lie? They are clearly insecure about something in order to stoop so low…and what kind of dirt are they trying to cover themselves over?

  • terry1

    Kudos, Stephen for your integrity on this issue. You need to be teaching ethics classes to your federal party.

  • Jon

    Maybe you could add this to your Twitter page:

    “Michael Ignatieff likes to poach bureaucrats…except when he doesn't…”

  • China Tour

    Different point of view from that post. Interesting to say the least.

  • Omanator

    Beaker Amen to that. We all make a mistake once in a while, but we have to have the courage to admit it.

  • Omanator

    Beaker Amen to that. We all make a mistake once in a while, but we have to have the courage to admit it.