Mark Collins – National Security Advisor to Canadian PM Retires…Successor?

First Richard Fadden’s rather remarkable career this century as a very senior public servant, including holding some very sensitive posts, before he was appointed to his most recent position in January 2015:


Professional Experience

Since May 2013
Deputy Minister of National Defence

2009 – 2013
Director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service

2006 – 2009
Deputy Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

2005 – 2006
Deputy Minister of Natural Resources

2002 – 2005
President of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency

2000 – 2002
Deputy Clerk of the Privy Council and Counsel, and beginning in February 2001 assumed the additional duties of Security and Intelligence Coordinator, Privy Council Office…

These are the parts of the Privy Council Office under the national security advisor. Now the news reporting.

1) Post Media:

National security adviser to Harper, Trudeau retires from one of Ottawa’s weightiest jobs

“Dick was the guy who could get things done in a deliberate and calm fashion and never got his knickers in a twist,” says a former colleague of Richard Fadden.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld/File“Dick was the guy who could get things done in a deliberate and calm fashion and never got his knickers in a twist,” says a former colleague of Richard Fadden…

The career Ottawa bureaucrat, former spymaster and point man on security at home and abroad under two prime ministers quietly retired Thursday [March 31], presumably to decompress. With his 65th birthday approaching, Fadden made the decision to leave some time ago, but waited until the new Liberal government was settled in…

Fadden’s replacement, yet to be named [see end of this post], will take over one of the capital’s weightiest jobs. The position is established by prime ministerial prerogative and therefore has no statutory powers. The NSA cannot compel deputy ministers and other securocrats running the state security apparatus to do anything.

But as ear-whisperer to the prime minister on security and intelligence issues, foreign and defence policy and as a conduit for conveying the prime minister’s directions (and those of cabinet) to the national security community at large, the NSA wields considerable influence at a critical time.

The NSA’s other stated role is to co-ordinate and strategize the security and intelligence community, including the RCMP, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), the Communications Security Establishment, the Canada Border Services Agency, the department of foreign affairs, national defence and others from time to time. Particularly sensitive matters are brought to the attention of the minister responsible and or the prime minister.

The NSA maintains high-level contacts with the allied intelligence community, particularly the Americans and British. Fadden’s successor is expected to play a vital role helping with the planned committee of parliamentarians to monitor the country’s national security establishment [see, note links at end: “British Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Review Committee Shows Some Teeth (cf. Canada)“]. That includes assuring Washington and London the committee can be trusted to keep their secrets. And all of that will require professional credibility…

Fadden existed in the shadows, content to be a faceless bureaucrat. The only time he appeared before the public at large was his controversial 2010 appearance on CBC television when he revealed that some unnamed Canadian politicians were suspected of being under the spell of “foreign (read China) influences [see CBC story below].”

“It was a brave thing to say in his job, but he’s right, people are pretty naïve in this country in many ways,” said a former high-level national security official. “I assume he decided deliberately to do that. I don’t think Dick does things just off the cuff.”

Others believed the remarks were a perilous breach by an influential security establishment figure into the political realm. Members of Parliament and provincial premiers howled for Fadden’s head. He is said to have been in the penalty box for a time, but clearly won back Harper’s trust.

2) CBC:


“On behalf of all Canadians, I wish Dick the very best in retirement and thank him for his distinguished record of service to his country,” Trudeau said Thursday in a written statement.

Richard Fadden named national security adviser to Stephen Harper

Some politicians under foreign sway: CSIS director says

Richard Fadden’s comments anger Chinese community

A noted expert on intelligence and national security said that this sort of personnel shuffling is to be expected with the arrival of a new prime minister.

“I don’t think anybody is suggesting that Fadden was pushed out or anything like that,” Wesley Wark, a professor at the University of Ottawa [more here], said in an interview.

A prime minister’s relationship with a national security adviser is deeply personal, Wark added, noting that a similar disposition is helpful when dealing jointly with pressing threats to the homeland.

…Fadden was the director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service from 2009 to 2013.

Fadden courted controversy in that role when he told CBC News in 2010 that some provincial politicians had “developed quite an attachment to foreign countries.”

“There are several municipal politicians in British Columbia and in at least two provinces there are ministers of the Crown who we think are under at least the general influence of a foreign government,” Fadden said at the time.
He had previously named China as an aggressive recruiter in Canada.

The comments angered the Chinese community, which felt it had been unfairly singled out by Fadden’s remarks, and prompted calls for Fadden’s resignation…

Very relevant:

Dragon Hack Attack on Canadian Government Research: Report

Spookery in Canada: China, CSIS and…the Ontario Government, Part 2

Cyber Espionage vs US Defence Industry: Chinese Resident of Canada Pleads Guilty

As for Mr Fadden’s successor (assuming the new “sunny ways” prime minister wants one), a tweet based on an idea from someone knowledgeable:

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

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