New innovation deputy minister announced

Teresa Wright
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Innovation PEI

The Department of Innovation and Advanced Learning has a new deputy minister.

Neil Stewart was appointed to the position, effective Oct. 8, according to cabinet documents.

He has been acting deputy since last April after the former deputy minister of innovation, Melissa MacEachern, left the position amid concerns over $8 million in tourism contracts flagged by the auditor general as problematic.

Premier Robert Ghiz is currently out of the country, but a statement from his office confirmed the appointment.

“Mr. Stewart had been in an acting role as deputy minister since the spring of 2013, he has now been confirmed in the position,” a spokesman for the premier wrote to The Guardian.

“Mr. Stewart’s background is well suited for the Department of Innovation and Advanced Learning.”

Stewart moves into this position after serving for several years in senior positions within the department.

Before this most recent appointment, Stewart was head of the province’s lending authority, Finance P.E.I., a post he held since 2012. He previously was CEO of Innovation P.E.I. and before that was director of corporate services for Island Investment Development Inc.

Stewart’s name has been raised numerous times in the legislature and in documents in relation to his work with the Provincial Nominee Program. Stewart was one of the directors of the program during the time period in which a number of rules were broken, as identified by then auditor general Colin Younker after his 2009 investigation.

As deputy minister, Stewart will make between $121,041 and $133,741 a year, according to the department’s 2013 budget estimates, tabled by Innovation Minister Allen Roach in the legislature last spring.

Cabinet documents say Stewart will have seniority as a deputy head dating from Nov. 15, 2011.

twright@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/GuardianTeresa

Organizations: Department of Innovation and Advanced Learning, Island Investment Development Inc.Stewart

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Recent comments

  • Peter
    October 28, 2013 - 19:06

    Headshaker... I noticed you didn't sign your real name neither... I wonder why?

  • Provincial business
    October 28, 2013 - 11:48

    What country is Ghiz in, and for what reason.

  • Mush, mush and more mush . . .
    October 28, 2013 - 10:53

    Mr. Stewart’s background? The lack of investigative reporting on complex issues is understandable given the lack of resources, political pressures and even cultural norms. However, to publish the qualifications of Mr. Stewart isn't rocket science - it serves the government and the public. Is he a lawyer, does he have a Ph.D., is he a C.A. has he operated his own business, has he worked outside of PEI? These facts matter . . . a lot! Publishing what what somebody told you to write down isn't journalism, it's just publishing what somebody told you to write down. That's pretty sad, eh?

  • intobed
    October 27, 2013 - 17:11

    Two quotes from this article: "Stewart was one of the directors of the program (PNP) during the time period in which a number of rules were broken,..." and "Mr. Stewart’s background is well suited for the Department of Innovation and Advanced Learning.” Sounds like a direct admission that the department is lead by a bunch of crooked people who are rewarded for breaking the rules, doesn't it?

    • alleyoops
      October 28, 2013 - 04:09

      Could not be any clearer..............

    • Head Shaker
      October 28, 2013 - 06:45

      No. Sounds like not following the guilty until proven innocent mentality that many islanders seem to have. You didn't sign your name, are you a terrorist? NSA, here's someone for your watch list.