British Columbia government deputy minister Don Leitch was quietly removed from the public payroll in early December, Public Eye has learned. Mr. Leitch was hired by the provincial Liberals following their 2001 election win under a three-year contract, having previously served as Manitoba Premier Gary Filmon's deputy minister for 11 years. Known by some as the deputy minister's deputy minister for his by-the-book approach, he was given the thankless task of being Rick Thorpe's handler at competition, science and enterprise.
But due to personality conflicts, Mr. Leitch was re-assigned, taking over responsibility for securities, deregulation and special projects under then Minister of State Kevin Falcon. His contract was then renewed for one year, with a six month review period. And when that review came up, the premier's deputy minister Ken Dobell reportedly informed Mr. Leitch there was no further work available for him. Not surprising, say our spies, given that the easygoing Mr. Letich had clashed a number of times with Mr. Dobell over the proper way to run a civil service - criticizing the West Annex's micro-managing tendencies.