Canada

Privy Council bureaucrat to join Ignatieff's team: sources

Newly minted Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff has snagged a senior adviser right out from under Prime Minister Stephen Harper's nose.

Newly minted Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff has snagged a senior adviser right out from under Prime Minister Stephen Harper's nose.

Sources confirmed late Tuesday that Kevin Chan, executive assistant and director to top federal bureaucrat Kevin Lynch, has joined Ignatieff's team.

As clerk of the Privy Council Office, Lynch directly advises the prime minister on policy, administrative and political matters. He is the link between the Prime Minister's Office and the deputy ministers who run each government department. 

As Lynch's right-hand man, Chan would presumably have had top secret clearance and access to all confidential government plans.

While secrecy oaths will prohibit him from divulging any confidential information in his new role in the Opposition leader's office, he will take with him an in-depth knowledge of the way government works. Of more particular interest to Liberals, he'll bring an insider's view of the Harper regime's style and operations.

It was not clear late Tuesday what Chan's new role will be, but he is expected to be an influential player in Ignatieff's office.

Harvard connection 

Neither the Prime Minister's Office nor Ignatieff's spokesperson would comment on the move.

However, it appears that Ignatieff and Chan crossed paths at Harvard. Chan earned a masters degree in public policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, where Ignatieff was a professor until returning to Canada to run for elected office in 2004.

In 2004-05, Chan was chosen as a fellow of Action Canada, a nationwide network of young Canadians deemed to have shown exceptional talent and leadership abilities. The fellowship program is jointly funded by the private sector and federal government and is aimed at fostering leadership.

A biography posted on Action Canada's website describes Chan's role as executive assistant to the clerk of the Privy Council. It says Chan was responsible for managing the day to day operations of Lynch's office, including "providing operational and policy support to the clerk in his interactions with the Privy Council Office, the Prime Minister's Office and federal departments."

According to the biography, Chan previously held various policy positions within the PCO and also worked for the Nunavut government.   

He is a recipient of the Public Service Award of Excellence for his work recruiting policy leaders into the government. And he was a member of the Governor General's Leadership Conference.

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