Globe and Mail
March 1, 2005
Former EDC head launches suit.
Ottawa: The former president of Export
Development Canada is suing the Paul Martin government for $2.5-million
for wrongful dismissal, saying the government acted “abusively” and
Ian Gillespie, 52, who had worked his way up the ladder and served 26 years at EDC, packed up and left the Crown corporation.
His term had expired Aug. 26, but according to his 27-page statement of
claim filed in Ontario Superior Court, his only communication with
government that day was a letter from the Privy Council Office saying
his employment status was “still under discussion.”
The EDC board of directors and Trade Minister Jim Peterson, the
minister responsible for the corporation, had recommended three months
earlier that Mr. Gillespie be reappointed for another three years.
Mr. Gillespie finally found out that he was to be replaced when he saw
a newspaper ad in October asking for applications for his job.
“I was not surprised in terms of their attitude,” Mr. Gillespie said yesterday.
“I had gone through it before . . . and various people at various times
had said, ‘Ian, they don’t care about you and they don’t care about the
EDC in these things, and we’ll see what happens.’ In my case the
government took no action.”
Mr. Gillespie, who is now looking for another job, filed his statement of claim in mid-January.
The defendants in the case, the EDC and the Privy Council Office, which
is the department that serves the Prime Minister, have not yet
responded. They would not comment on the case yesterday.
Meanwhile, his statement provides an inside look at the appointments
process and highlights the difficulties Mr. Martin and his strategists
seem to have in making the tough and often controversial decisions
around government and political appointments.
The Prime Minister has yet to fill nearly 20 Senate seats, and the top
jobs at other Crown corporations such as Canada Post, the Business
Development Bank and VIA Rail remain vacant.
Mr. Gillespie’s job was finally filled. Robert Wright, a long-time
public servant, diplomat and most recently the national security
adviser, was named to the post.
The EDC is a financial institution that helps Canadian exporters. Mr.
Gillespie was earning an annual salary of $282,900 when he left last
year, and was entitled to an annual bonus of up to 15 per cent of his