The premier's office is refusing to answer detailed questions about their new top climate change bureaucrat's background. Graham Whitmarsh, who briefly served as the premier's chief carbon trading advisor before being named head of the premier's climate action secretariat earlier this week, has an extensive background in the airline information technology and aerospace industries. But Internet and newspaper database searches (LexisNexis and CanWest Global Communications Corp. archives) show no reference to him being involved in any carbon trading or climate change work.
Public Eye has placed repeated requests for further information about Mr. Whitmarsh since the first week of May - both with the premier's office and Mr. Whitmarsh himself. On Monday, Public Eye received this response from the premier's communications director Dale Steeves in relation to the climate change bureaucrat's past post as chief carbon trading advisor: "Mr. Whitmarsh brings to this position 17 years of diverse international business experience, including five years as a chief executive officer and 12 years in senior management positions in a variety of businesses.â€
"He understands the key actions taken by other jurisdictions with respect to cap and trade and carbon offsets. This includes the problems encountered and the issues raised while designing and implementing cap and trade schemes. He has completed research into the market for carbon offsets and the opportunity that they present to BC. This could lead to BC being the recipient of inward offset investment from other provinces/states."
Mr. Steeves refused to say what qualifications Mr. Whitmarsh has to "understand" cap and trade systems. Nor would he say whether Mr. Whitmarsh's research into those systems was done as part of his present work with government or a past post. Although Mr. Steeves did stress Mr. Whitmarsh was named head of the climate action secretariat after a "competitive process which was advertised extensively in major newspapers." That process involved 31 accepted applicants.
According to trade publications and news releases, between 1998 and 2003 Mr. Whitmarsh was an executive at airline management software manufacturer Mercury Scheduling Systems Inc. - first as vice-president and then as its president and chief executive officer. Prior to that, he served with British Aerospace PLC for eight years - finishing his tenure there as the sales and marketing vice-president for its turboprops asset management division in Washington.