MacAdam holds ACOA position despite court ruling

A former P.E.I. cabinet minister continues to be employed by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, despite a Federal Court decision concluding ACOA broke the rules in hiring him.

A former P.E.I. cabinet minister continues to be employed by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, despite a Federal Court decision concluding ACOA broke the rules in hiring him.

ACOA says Kevin MacAdam is still an employee, despite a Federal Court ruling starting his hiring was inappropriate. (CBC)

The ruling over Kevin MacAdam's appointment follows an investigation by the Public Service Commission that reached the same conclusion.

MacAdam was hired by ACOA in February 2011. His appointment sparked an outcry from the federal Atlantic Liberal caucus and an investigation by the Public Service Commission.

MacAdam was a provincial cabinet minister in the Progressive Conservative government of former P.E.I. premier Pat Binns. He also ran unsuccessfully in the 2000 federal election as a Conservative candidate, then became a political staffer for federal cabinet minister Peter MacKay in 2006.

His position at ACOA was a new one as second-in-command with the organization's P.E.I. office, working under a colleague from the Binns government, former director of communications Pat Dorsey.

MacAdam's position was posted externally rather than internally and a bilingual requirement was made optional.

Liberals in Atlantic Canada called it a patronage appointment and asked the Public Service Commission to investigate.

The commission found Dorsey and others acted improperly when they hired MacAdam. It said MacAdam's appointment should be cancelled, but that decision was stayed pending a judicial review by the Federal Court.

'Personal favouritism,' says judge

The Federal Court decision was released this month. It backs up the commission's assertion that the hiring was inappropriate, although it does state that MacAdam himself did nothing wrong.

In the decision Judge Richard Mosley wrote, "The evidence amply demonstrated the exercise of personal favouritism by Mr. Dorsey to assist a former associate in PEI provincial politics [in finding] a soft landing back home in a secure and senior public service position."

"Mr. MacAdam was the beneficiary of that favour."

ACOA says MacAdam is still an employee. According to court documents, he's spent the last three years in Ottawa learning French. The position he was awarded is based on P.E.I.

CBC News asked ACOA whether MacAdam has continued to draw his salary while in Ottawa. There was no immediate answer available.

A lawyer representing MacAdam told CBC News his client is considering whether to appeal this latest decision.

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