The Western Canada Wilderness Committee is considering asking the province's merit commissioner
to review the recent appointment of British Columbia's top climate action bureaucrat. Last week, we exclusively told you the premier's office was refusing to answer detailed questions about Graham Whitmarsh's background. Mr. Whitmarsh has an extensive background in the airline information technology and aerospace industries. But Internet and newspaper database searchs shows no reference to him being involved in any carbon trading or climate change work.
Speaking on Public Eye Radio, wilderness committee policy development director Gwen Barlee slammed the premier's office for their lack of openness, saying "You'd think they'd want to trumpet his background and his credentials to fill this position - especially because it's going to be such an incredibly high-profile job within the province."
Continued Ms. Barlee, "I think if you talk to 100 people on the street, 100 people would say that the head of the climate action secretariat needs to be well-versed in the ins-and-outs of climate change. This isn't a job where you're flipping burgers. It requires a degree of expertise if you're going to do that correctly."
Indeed, in a separate interview, New Democrat environment critic Shane Simpson said, based on the information provided by the Campbell administration, "I find it hard to understand what (Mr. Whitmarsh's) credentials are to be heading up the climate change team. I don't see a whole lot of credentials here."
Ms. Barlee added, in the absence of further information, "the wilderness committee is thinking of going to the merit commissioner and perhaps asking her to review the appointment." Joy Illington, an independent officer of the legislature, is responsible for ensuring government appointments are made according to the merit principle. The premier's communications director Dale Steeves has said Mr. Whitmarsh was hired following a "competitive process which was advertised extensively in major newspapers."