Defence Minister Rob Nicholson’s Office Too Close to Defence Industry

Media Release
For Immediate Release
July 23, 2013

“Ethical wall” for Nicholson’s Chief of Staff would impair the Minister’s oversight role

(Ottawa) The office of Prime Minister Harper’s new Minister of National Defence, Rob Nicholson, is too close to the defence industry, undermining his ability to effectively oversee billions of dollars in government spending on the military.

According to a media report today, Minister Nicholson’s Chief of Staff, Maureen Murphy, is meeting with the Ethics Commissioner to address the fact that Ms. Murphy’s spouse, Richard Morgan, is a lobbyist for several corporations with an interest in new fighter jet and warship programs.

“Any ‘ethical wall’ that would require the new Defence Minister’s Chief of Staff not to participate in key military programs would seriously impact her ability to assist the Minister in fulfilling his proper oversight role of multi-billion-dollar government spending decisions,” said Steven Staples, President of the Rideau Institute.

“Minister Rob Nicholson needs to find a new Chief of Staff,” he added.

This incident highlights the growing concern about industry’s influence over government programs, especially where these companies have very close ties to foreign governments. Nicholson’s top staffer’s spouse lobbies for aircraft engine maker Pratt & Whitney Canada, and warship builder DCNS, through his firm TACTIX Government Relations Inc.

Pratt & Whitney is owned by U.S.-based United Technologies, which earned $12.5 billion (U.S.) from military sales in 2012 and was ranked in the top 10 global defence firms this week by Defense News. It supplies engines for many aircraft models, including the controversial F-35 stealth fighter, built by Lockheed Martin.

DCNS is a France-based shipbuilding firm whose $3.7 billion (U.S.) in revenue for 2012 was derived entirely from military customers. DCNS lobbied then defence minister Peter MacKay to provide surface combat ships for the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy.

The Rideau Institute is an independent research and advocacy organization with a specialty in defence and foreign policy, based in Ottawa.

 

– 30 –

Steven Staples, c. 613 290-2695 e. sstaples@rideauinstitute.ca

“Defense News Top 100,” http://www.defensenews.com/

“DND top staffer updating ‘ethical wall’ to avoid conflict of interest,” Globe and Mail, July 23, 2013. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/defence-ministers-chief-of-staff-builds-ethical-wall-to-avoid-conflict-of-interest/article13355614/

Read More

Comments are closed.




Will peaceful democratic change prove possible in Algeria? What next in Venezuela?

Hundreds of thousands of people protested in central Algiers on Friday in the biggest demonstration against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s 20-year rule since unrest began last month. So begins a recent Reuters report on the momentous events unfolding in what has heretofore been an anchor of stability in the region.  For more in depth analysis see: Understanding the Algerian Protests (Giorgio Cafiero, […]

Read More
View the Blog »

CSO Open Letter to PM on review of Saudi arms deal and update on gun control in Canada

  On 5 March 2019 a large group of civil society organizations including the Rideau Institute released to the media and ...

Nuclear flashpoints, Palestinian suffering, Venezuelan meddling and more

In a week packed with international flashpoints, our CF Roundup looks at important developments on the Korean peninsula, the sub-continent, ...