Better know a Canadian functionary: officers of the Central Experimental Farm

Between its founding in 1886 and its reorganization in 1959, one of the major subdivisions of the federal Department of Agriculture was the Central Experimental Farm, which controlled the lion’s share of government scientific research before the establishment of the National Research Council, and for quite some time afterward as well.

Titles of chiefs of the specialist divisions in the Central Experimental Farm usually stuck to the form of “the Dominion Thing-the-guy-does”. We’ve already covered some of them: the Dominion Cerealist, the Dominion Dairy Commissioner, the Veterinary Director-General.

One of the oldest of these posts was that of the Dominion Botanist, created when John Macoun was appointed to the post as the Department’s plant expert in 1882. Macoun was replaced by James Fletcher, who was also made Dominion Entomologist. By 1952 it was renamed the Chief of Botany and Plant Pathology Division.

The Dominion Botanists were:

John Macoun, 1882-87.
James Fletcher, 1887-1908.
Hans Theo Gussow, 1908-45.
John Hubert Craigie, 1945-52.
W.F. Hanna, 1952-58.

After James Fletcher’s death in 1908, the office of Dominion Entomologist, an expert in insects, was separated from the Dominion Botanist. The Dominion Entomologist was renamed Chief of Entomological Division in 1950.

The Dominion Entomologists were:

James Fletcher, 1887-1908.
Charles Gordon Hewitt, 1909-20.
Arthur Gibson, 1920-24.
Henry Gordon Macgregor Crawford, 1924-50.
Robert Glen, 1950-57.
Beverly Northcott Smallman, 1957-59.

One of the major divisional chiefs had been the Dominion Chemist, the head of all the chemical research laboratories.

The Dominion Chemists were:

Frank Thomas Schutt CBE, 1887-1933.
Clifford H. Robinson, 1933-49.
James C. Woodward, 1949-55.
A.R.G. Emslie, 1955-59.

The office of Dominion Horticulturalist was split from the Dominion Botanist in 1910. Its specialty was in flowers, shrubs and other decorative plants.

The Dominion Horticulturalists were:

William Tyrrell Macoun, 1910-33.
Malcolm Bancroft Davis, 1933-55.
Hinson Hill, 1955-59.

The office of Dominion Agrostologist, also known as Chief of the Forage Division, was split from the Dominion Botanist in 1912. Its job was similar to that of the Dominion Cerealist, except that the Agrostologist focused more on legumes and grasses grown for feeding livestock. The Dominion Agrostologist was changed to the Head of Grass, Legume and Pasture Research Unit in 1957.

The Dominion Agrostologists were:

Malte Oscar Malte, 1912-21.
G.P. McRostie, 1922-30.
Lawrence Eldred Kirk OC, 1931-38.
Trueman M. Stevenson, 1938-57.
J.E. Ross Greenshields, 1957-59.

The Dominion Apiarist (also sometimes referred to as the Dominion Apiculturalist) was split from the Dominion Entomologist in 1914. The Dominion Apiarist studied bees, both for improving honey production and to improve methods of pollination.

The Dominion Apiarists were:

Frederick William Lambert Sladen, 1914-21.
Charles B. Gooderham, 1921-49.
C.A. Jamieson, 1949-58.


The Trudeau Cabinet

At the last major Cabinet shuffle, I took a look at how the position titles had changed. I thought I’d take a look at the changes Justin Trudeau made to Cabinet, because there are some doozies.

First, there are no Ministers of State and no Secretaries of State. Either you’re a full Minister or you’re nothing.

Second, there’s no Deputy Prime Minister. Most people were expecting Trudeau to return to Liberal form and appoint one, probably Ralph Goodale, but he didn’t.

There seems to be no President of the Privy Council; an almost meaningless title, to be sure, but one that’s gone unfilled for the first time since 1867. (EDIT: According to the Hill Times, Minister of Democratic Institutions Marilyn Monsef was made President of the Privy Council. Still, the fact the appointment wasn’t mentioned at the inauguration is a visible break with tradition, putting the title on par with Navdeep Bains becoming Registrar-General of Canada or Judy Foote becoming the Receiver-General of Canada.)

The Chief Government Whip wasn’t given a Cabinet seat, but Trudeau won’t need one for at least another month until the House sits again in December.

The regional economic development agencies have been mushed together with the Minister of Industry to form the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. Confusingly, there is also a Minister of Science; they must split their science duties by whether it’s pure or applied science.

Employment was split off of the Minister of Employment and Social Development to merge with Labour and form the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour. Social Development has mutated into the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.

A number of ministries were renamed in such a way that their names now include a redundant extra word that the department was already covering, but the government really wants you to know that they’re doing something about it. These positions are the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship; the Minister of Environment and Climate Change; and the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development was renamed Indigenous and Northern Affairs, which means the departmental acronym will revert to the catchy “INAC” instead of the unpronounceable “AANDC”.

Public Works and Government Services was renamed Public Services and Procurement.

The Minister of Democratic Reform was renamed the Minister of Democratic Institutions. (Trudeau must not love that word REFOOORM.)

Intergovernmental Affairs and Infrastructure & Communities has been split into two cabinet posts. The Prime minister will be his own Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, much like most of the premiers in the provincial cabinets.

There is no more Minister of State for Seniors, but there is a new Minister of Youth.

Trudeau also dropped portfolios for Multiculturalism, Official Languages, and Consular Affairs, and added a Minister for Persons with Disabilities.

Better know a Canadian functionary: the Chief of Protocol of Canada

The Chief of Protocol of Canada is a senior official at Global Affairs Canada (formerly the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development) (formerly the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade) (formerly the Department of Foreign Affairs) (formerly the Department of External Affairs).

It is his or her job to keep straight a confusing mishmash of levels of seniority, forms of address and details of etiquette for every country, culture and religion the Canadian government may have to deal with so that our ambassadors don’t shame the nation by wearing the wrong socks or burping into the soup or referring to a chieftain as “Your Fancifulness” when he should be called “Your Most Irresistible” or something like that.

The government’s need for someone to handle protocol began when the Department of External Affairs was founded in 1909. The subject was handled ably by the deputy minister, Sir Joseph Pope, for whom this sort of nitpicking was a hobby. When Sir Joseph retired in 1925, the responsibility nominally passed to his successor, Oscar Douglas Skelton, but in practice it went to an official named Howard Measures, who had been the Department’s protocol expert since the waning years of Sir Joseph’s tenure. Measures was eventually appointed as the first official Chief of Protocol in 1930.

The Chiefs of Protocol of Canada have been:

William Howard Measures, 1930-58.
Herbert Frederick Brooks-Hill “Temp” Feaver, 1958-61.
Henry Francis Davis, 1961-65.
Christopher Campbell Eberts, 1966-69.
Norman Frederick Henderson Berlis, 1969-72.
E. Benjamin Rogers, 1972-75.
James Barker, 1975-78.
André Couvrette, 1978-81.
L.H. Amyot, 1981-83.
Georges-Henri Blouin, 1983-86.
Théodore Jean Arcand, 1986-89.
Pierrette Lucas, 1989-92.
Lawrence David Lederman, 1993-97.
Alain Dudoit, 1997-2000.
Richard Kohler, 2000-2003.
Robert Collette, 2003-05.
Malcolm McKechnie, 2005-07.
Robert William Peck, 2007-10.
Margaret Huber, 2010-13.
Angela Bogdan, 2013-now.

Election Post-Mortem 2015

Now that the dust has settled, and all the obvious points have been made, I’d like to take a minute to dissect the federal election that happened on Monday.

In this election, 30 new seats were added to the House of Commons, totaling 338 seats. The Liberal Party gained 150 seats from the 2011 election, winning a majority government with 184 seats. The Conservatives had 99 seats, losing 60, and the NDP won 44, losing 51. The Bloc Quebecois won 10 seats, gaining 6, and the Green Party stayed steady with 1 seat.

To start, let’s look at the 3 third-place parties.

The sole Green seat was won by the party leader, Elizabeth May, who will likely hold her seat until she gets bored of Parliament or the people of Saanich and the Gulf Islands grow tired of her. The Green Party may pick up another seat in Parliament by adopting an MP thrown out of his or her party for discipline problems or possible malfeasance, as it has done twice before. Barring a miracle, there are few signs that it will ever elect a large number of MPs.

At first glance, the Bloc winning 2 1/2 times as many seats would be a troubling reversal of its march to extinction. But there are three points that indicate otherwise: (1) the popular vote for the Bloc went down by about 70,000, from 889,000 votes in 2011 to 818,000 in 2015; (2) they still fell short of the 12 seats needed for official parliamentary party status, denying them a large amount of funding, which, combined with the abolition of the per-vote subsidy, continues to starve the party of resources; and (3) Gilles Duceppe, the only strong leader the Bloc has had in nearly 20 years, was again defeated in his riding of Laurier–Sainte-Marie by the NDP’s Hélène Laverdière (for which she truly is an unsung heroine in the pantheon of great federalists), and then Duceppe again resigned as leader, which means that the Bloc will go through another round of leadership races, intrigue, retribution, infighting, defections, and general destruction of morale.

A lot of attention has been paid to the implosion of the New Democrats. From a first-place seat in the polls in August it plunged into an abysmal showing: its Maritime caucus was wiped out completely, as was its caucus in the GTA outside of central Hamilton. Most damning of all, it went from 59 seats in Quebec to a mere 16. (The Tories, by contrast, went from winning 5 seats in Quebec in 2011 to 12 seats this time.) Party stars and stalwarts like Megan Leslie, Peter Stoffer, Peggy Nash, Pat Martin, Dennis Bevington, Wayne Marston, Andrew Cash, Paul Dewar and Nycole Turmel had the rug seemingly pulled out from underneath them. And so far, Thomas Mulcair has not resigned as leader, which is usually expected when a party is beaten like this.

(Meanwhile, oddly, several of the most egregious “paper candidates” that were elected almost by accident in Quebec in 2011 survived: Pierre-Luc Dusseault, elected as MP for Sherbrooke at the age of 19, was returned to his seat; as was Berthier–Maskinongé’s Ruth Ellen Brosseau, the barmaid at Carleton University who never set foot in her riding before 2011 and spent a week of her first campaign in Las Vegas; as was Matthew Dubé of Beloeil–Chambly, a member of the “McGill Four”, a quartet of twentysomething undergrads elected around Montreal. The other three – Lauren Liu, Charmaine Borg, and Mylène Freeman – were defeated.)

But here’s the thing: this election was the second-best showing in NDP history. Before the Orange Crush of 2011, the best the NDP had ever done was 43 seats under Ed Broadbent in 1988. Thomas Mulcair deserves some credit for keeping the lightning-in-a-bottle charisma of Jack Layton from evaporating completely, and it may just be that going forward, though it may stay in 3rd place, the NDP will be able to consistently raise caucuses of 30 to 50 members, rather than the 10 to 30 members it was used to mustering before Jack.

And now the big two, and the questions everyone is asking: How did Trudeau do it? And how didn’t Harper?

For Harper, appropriately, I think a Bible verse sums it up, from Proverbs 16: “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” Harper, though he may have kept the country out of disaster, had been in charge for 9 years, and history has shown that serving any more than 9 or 10 years is reserved for only the most exceptional of our prime ministers: it has only ever been accomplished by Macdonald, Laurier, King, and Trudeau the Elder. It has to be admitted that Harper, crafty statesman though he is, is not quite of that caliber. Harper believed his presence was necessary for the salvation of Canada. In the public’s eyes, he had done nothing of great enough importance to overcome all the little things that turned people off. It was the natural time for him to go, and if he would not go himself, the nation would send him away. Other than a general enmity with the man himself, and a mounting nebulous sense of xenophobia emanating from so much niqab talk, the Conservatives didn’t seem to be any more hated than they usually are. Perhaps the Conservative platform, had it not had Harper attached to it, could have won at least a minority government: the Globe and Mail seemed to think so. And we’ll find out if it can in about 4 years.

Trudeau’s appeal, conversely, can be summed up with a different line from Proverbs 16: “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” Trudeau was all peaches and light throughout the campaign, always sticking to the central theme that the Liberals would not merely work to stave off disaster, but actively try to make the country a better place. It looked even more positive when contrasted against the Conservatives, who spent an awful lot of time talking about what a disaster the other parties would be. And Trudeau had one big thing that Harper could not have: potential.

Whoever was going to win this election was going to face an uphill battle: commodity prices are down, housing prices out of control, student debt is untamed, mechanization and outsourcing eating into the job market, the Navy is a mess, the post office in crisis, railways in decline, roads and bridges crumbling, airfare costs too much, phone and Internet service giving poor value for money, veterans slighted, indigenous persons aggrieved, long-term theoretical science research ignored for short-term industrial concerns. Trudeau may not have a mind big enough to solve these problems, but as long as he’s got a good heart and enough sense to listen to people who know what they’re talking about, one of Canada’s greatest gambles just might see some payoff.

Better know a Canadian functionary: the President of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

Parliament passed the Atomic Energy Control Act in 1946 to oversee safety regulations for Canada’s nuclear power plants, laboratories, and weapons programs (which wound up never happening). This power was vested in a 5-person Atomic Energy Control Board, headed by a president. This setup existed until the Nuclear Safety and Control act was passed in 1997, replacing the AECB with a 7-member Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission in 2000, which exists to this day.

The presidents of the AECB and the CNSB have been:

The Hon. Gen. Andrew George Latta McNaughton CH CB CMG DSO CD PC, 1946-48.
Chalmers Jack Mackenzie CC CMG MC FRS FRSC, 1948-61.
George Craig Laurence, 1961-70.
Donald Geoffrey Hurst, 1970-74.
Alan T. Prince, 1975-78.
Jon H. Jennekens OC, 1978-87.
René J.A. Lévesque OC, 1987-93.
Agnes J. Bishop, 1994-2001.
Linda J. Keen, 2001-08.
Michael Binder, 2008-now.

Better know a Canadian institution: the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board

The Patented Medicine Prices Review Board was created in 1987 as a function of Health Canada. Its job is to set the maximum price for patented drugs so that Big Pharma can’t screw sick people too hard.

The chairs of the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board have been:

Harry C. Eastman, 1987-95.
Robert Elgie, 1995-2005.
Réal Sureau (acting), 2005-06.
Brien Georges Benoit, 2006-10.
Mary Catherine Lindberg, 2010-now.