New diplomat with ties to Liberal Party making nearly double the post's official salary
Rana Sarkar is seen in this undated image taken from LinkedIn
Published Monday, August 21, 2017 12:02PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, August 21, 2017 5:57PM EDT
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s top aide says paying one of Canada's newest diplomatic appointees nearly double what the going-rate is “completely in line” with other federal appointments from the private sector.
The posting makes the Liberal-appointee, and former Liberal candidate, one of the highest-paid Canadian diplomats.
Rana Sarkar was named consul-general to San Francisco as part of a round of U.S. diplomatic appointments the federal government announced on Aug. 2. According to the Privy Council office, his salary is within the $221,300 to $260,300 range. The official pay scale for the posting is in the range of $119,600 to $140,700.
In defending the appointment on Twitter on Monday morning, Gerald Butts, principal secretary to Trudeau called Sarkar a “friend,” and said often luring people from the private sector to a government job is a challenge, because of the hit to their salaries.
“Rana Sarkar's salary as CG is completely in line with those other appointments from the private sector,” Butts said as part of a series of tweets.
8. Rana Sarkar's salary as CG is completely in line with those other appointments from the private sector.— Gerald Butts (@gmbutts) August 21, 2017
Sarkar, the former president of the Canada-India Business Council and national director for high growth markets at KPMG, has close ties to the Liberal Party of Canada, including running unsuccessfully for the 2015 nomination in the Don Valley North riding, and as a candidate in Scarborough-Rouge River in 2011.
His appointment was made on the recommendation of Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, according to the Order in Council posting.
The posting was part of a round of diplomatic shuffles the government said is about boosting Canada’s diplomatic efforts in the United States, ahead of NAFTA renegotiations.
The Prime Minister’s Office said the salary range is in line with other top diplomatic posts, reflective of his qualifications, and considering the location of the appointment -- Silicon Valley.
For example, Canada’s UK High Commissioner Janice Charette’s position salary range is $172,200 to $202,500, while she is making between $277,600 and $326,500; •Canada’s Ambassador to the U.S. David MacNaughton is making between $247,900 and $291,600, though the official salary range is between $172,200 and $202,500; and and Kevin Vickers, Canada’s Ambassador to Ireland, who is making between $171,200 and $201,300 though the position salary is between $119,600 and $140,700.
"San Francisco and Silicon Valley is among the most important diplomatic positions in the world," Cameron Ahmed, spokesperson for the prime minister, wrote in an email to CTV News, adding that all the advice the PMO is receiving says the region is seen as fertile ground to attract technology and innovation jobs to Canada.
"Mr. Sarkar’s mandate is far greater than what the position has traditionally entailed," said Ahmed.
Sarkar’s responsibilities in the new post will include tapping into the tens of billions of annual trade dollars spent in the region to expand Canadian markets, attract investment and boost Canadian business, according to the PMO.
"Mr. Sarkar has the expertise and experience to help make this happen," said Ahmed.