According to the CBC, Privcy Council Clerk Michael Wernick has retired, stating that there is “no path” for him to have a “relationship of mutual trust and respect” with Opposition party leaders.
Wernick has amassed plenty of unwanted attention over the last several weeks for his role in the SNC-Lavalin affair.
In the letter announcing his retirement, Wernick wrote that “recent events have led me to conclude that I cannot serve as clerk of the Privy Council and secretary to cabinet during the upcoming election campaign.”
Wernick has been at the receiving end of heavy criticism from not just the CPC, but also the NDP, with MP Charlie Angus even calling for his resignation.
“Mr. Wernick has overstepped his role,” said Angus in an open letter to Justin Trudeau.
In his letter, Wernick states that “It is now apparent that there is no path for me to have a relationship of mutual trust and respect with the leaders of the Opposition parties. Therefore, I wish to relinquish these roles before the election. It is essential that Canadians continue to see their world-leading public service as non-partisan and there to provide excellent services to Canadians and the governments they elect.”
Wernick’s role in office was to alert the public of signs of election interference during the campaign period, which is also commonly referred to as the “writ period.”
“It is essential that during the writ period the clerk be seen by all political parties as an impartial arbiter of whether serious foreign interference has occurred,” wrote Wernick.
According to the CBC, the Prime Minister’s Office announced that Ian Shugart, the deputy minister of foreign affairs, will take over as clerk, and that Prime Minister Trudeau did not ask for Wernick to retire.
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