Federal judge rules Kevin MacAdam hiring at ACOA inappropriate

Teresa Wright
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Kevin MacAdam. FILE PHOTO

A Federal Court judge has ruled that senior officials at the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency acted inappropriately when they hired former Conservative provincial cabinet minister-turned federal bureaucrat Kevin MacAdam.

Justice Richard Mosley said evidence provided in the investigation launched by the Public Service Commission in 2011 amply demonstrates personal favourtism by then-ACOA P.E.I. vice president Pat Dorsey when he hired his former associate of provincial politics for the plum $130,000 job.

“Barring a more senior level appointment or lucrative position in the private sector, this could not have been a softer landing for a former political staffer looking for a more secure position close to home,” Mosley stated in his decision, delivered earlier this week.

The ruling means MacAdam will lose his job at ACOA, if he does not appeal. A spokesman for ACOA couldn’t comment on whether MacAdam is still employed by the agency.

The issue stems from a complaint to the Public Service Commission by the Atlantic Liberal caucus in 2011 expressing concern over MacAdam's appointment, given his political ties to the Conservative Party.

He worked as a staffer in Peter MacKay’s ministerial office from 2006 to 2010, then afterward as deputy chief of staff to Keith Ashfield.

MacAdam was hired as director general of operations for ACOA P.E.I. in February 2011 after a rushed selection process that saw the position advertised externally, rather than internally, and without the usual federal requirement for fluency in both official languages.

The Public Service Commission (PSC) revoked MacAdam's appointment after it determined through its investigation that senior officials who hired MacAdam acted inappropriately.

Dorsey and Kent Estabrooks were ordered to take ethics courses and lost their ability to appoint staff for three years.

MacAdam, Estabrooks and Dorsey later filed for a judicial review of that decision.

Mosley dismissed this appeal with his ruling this week.

The judge questioned many of the actions taken during the course of events that led to MacAdam’s hiring.

He singled out Dorsey as the one who lead the charge to smooth the way for his former colleague in the Pat Binns administration to land the job at ACOA.

“The evidence amply demonstrated the exercise of personal favouritism by Mr. Dorsey to assist a former associate in P.E.I. provincial politics find a soft landing back home in a secure and senior public service position,” Mosley states.

The Director General of Operations position at ACOA P.E.I. was a new one, created by consolidating two vacant positions into one.

Dorsey played a key role in getting one of those positions vacated, the Public Service Commission investigation found. He convinced Brian Schmeisser, who had been at ACOA for 22 years, to go on secondment to the provincial government. After Schmeisser’s departure, the Director General of Operations position was created, absorbing his responsibilities.

It was also Dorsey’s decision to advertise the position externally, rather than trying to find someone within an internal pool of bilingual candidates.

It allowed MacAdam to apply without first having to resign his job in Keith Ashfield’s office.

“The evidence indicates that the ACOA officials acted to protect (MacAdam’s) employment status by ensuring that he did not have to first resign in order to qualify,” Mosley wrote.

The judge noted there was no indication MacAdam acted inappropriately.

In a fair competition, apart from the bilingual requirement, MacAdam might well have earned the appointment, Mosley stated.

“But any likelihood of that outcome does not answer the commission’s conclusion that improper conduct helped him get the job.”

Mosley concluded that he is “satisfied that the decision to find improper conduct was reasonable in the sense that it was justified and intelligible and within the range of possible, acceptable outcomes defensible in respect of the facts and the law.”

With a file from The Canadian Press.



Organizations: Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Public Service Commission, Federal Court Conservative Party Canadian Press

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Recent comments

  • voter
    May 18, 2014 - 12:40

    dorsey and his friends are what makes the conservative what it is - sadly olive crane might be smiling very widely today

  • Bob MacDonald
    May 18, 2014 - 09:59

    Meanwhile our taxes go up to pay for all this.

  • Bob MacDonald
    May 18, 2014 - 09:58

    There really is no punishment here. Everyone involved is laughing all the way to the bank. Macadam gets to keep his 1/2 million dollars. Dorsey just keeps on going as well. They basically stole over a 1/2 million dollars, don't have to pay it back or suffer any consequences. Pathetic really, is there any wonder people are disillusioned in this day and age.

  • Sin e your Name
    May 18, 2014 - 08:33

    Those of you comparing one political party against the other are missing the bigger picture. It's still all the same sh*t, just different piles. And some of the piles happen to be bigger than others. You are being fleeced in all directions and they don't/won't care until they are motivated to think otherwise. Thank you Justice Richard Mosley for this faint glimmer of hope.

  • Jimmy Buffet
    May 18, 2014 - 08:07

    These people are working for a different master and NOT in the best interest of the public . Fire the whole lot of them , never mind the ethics course , a little time in jail may be more helpful .

  • scott
    May 17, 2014 - 19:54

    I find it very strange Garth Staples has not commented.

  • whore-finder
    May 17, 2014 - 17:59

    oink - these corrupt entitled ones give pigs a terrible name - when will it end? - it goes on and on the trough-seeking - they should all be fired with dishonourable mention. ugh!

  • Redford
    May 17, 2014 - 17:12

    Dorsey should be fired immediately and McAdam should pay back his ill gotten salary for year, the pair of crooks

  • wallace
    May 17, 2014 - 17:08

    Well, how do you think Dorsey got HIS job, - with his only experience being a political hack right out of University, no business experience what so ever. Blatant back room Binns transaction, so Dorsey would land soft after the election. He should be fired for trying to defraud the taxpayers by hiring an other unqualified hack. Discusting business that now has dragged on for years while McAdam has collected his $ 130.000 a year, - why is he not made to pay that back, he knew it was fraud.

  • Beyan Dickie
    May 17, 2014 - 16:45


  • Fed up
    May 17, 2014 - 16:27

    Anyone want to get in on how many Ghiz friends are employed on PEI?? I think not.. As for a fisherman who is delinquent....isn't MacKinley a LIBERAL?? Best to find out WHO is supporting their friends before shooting the mouth off....check out the company handed all the big construction jobs...even though their estimates are WAY above the non Ghiz supporters...mmmm.

    • Delinquent loans
      May 17, 2014 - 18:15

      Yes, McKinley is a great Liberal, but when Ghiz took over the reigns of the island he didn't fire every Tory like Currie got rid of every Liberal. There are still lots of Tory's in our government that are helping their own. The mental and financial hardship Currie caused is inexcusable and will never be forgotten.

  • grapes
    May 17, 2014 - 15:29

    This type of behaviour happens all the time in politics.just look at the LCC people who are In THE CIVIL SERVICE past over by friends of the Liberal.Where is the Civil Service and The Union? Might as well get use to this type of activity. Same at both levels of Government and probably in the municipalities

  • Angus
    May 17, 2014 - 15:11

    Now this type of comment hasn't been allowed before, but I'll try again. Why don't the press do a full investigation into the political interference on loans by ACOA. It's a joke on the East Coast with high government honchos interfering in many files for the benefit of their friends. The G of C website for ACOA has every loan and grant listed going back years and the companies and names would astound most. One focus should be on who paid what back and win. I say it's complete laziness on the part of the media that this whole ACOA issue and the involvement of all governing political parties with regards to interference in files is a disgrace on the Atlantic Coast.

  • Taxpayer
    May 17, 2014 - 13:03

    The same patronage is taking place at Finance PEI. Faithful Tory fishermen haven't made their loan payments in years.one out of Georgetown has had a delinquent loan for 10 years now and just keeps living " the life". When does this under the table favouritism end.Where is the accountability of the taxpayers dollars? Disgusted!!!

    May 17, 2014 - 11:54

    What about all the other numpties involved in this shamefull exercise . There should be heads rolling , these people make me sick and are an embarrassment to all Islanders .Binns Tories keep getting rehashed on the taxpayers nickel while the country goes broke ! Disgusting . My hat is off to Richard Mosley ,I only wish he could have fired the whole lot of them .How can anyone expect fair treatment at ACOA with these people employed there looking after their own !

  • Main Question Now
    May 17, 2014 - 10:18

    Did anyone get fired for this action ? Is the taxpayer going to get their money back that Macadam wasn't entitled to ?? Also should Pat Binns position be looked at as well ? Time to put a stop to this fleecing of the taxpayer by politics of all colors .

    • don
      May 17, 2014 - 13:39

      lol you talk about colors. well think on this color chart.This is what ghiz has in his office. Private Secretary, Executive Assistant, Special Advisor administrative, 2 Assistant, Administrative Assistant, Receptionist, Correspondence Secretary, Chief of Staff , Press Secretary  and the prime minister of Canada has 4 Chief of Staff, 1 Principal Secretary now tell me about colours and PATRONAGE?

  • Observer
    May 17, 2014 - 10:17

    Well, this is a surprise - and a pleasant one. I am glad to see that for once, the old boys club didn't get their way. No matter what else, he shouldn't have the job - and the court said so, loud and very clearly.

  • voter
    May 17, 2014 - 10:00

    SURPRISE !! SURPRISE !!! ------ACOA PEI-------------------------------------- JUST another political parasite pasture

  • Pierre
    May 17, 2014 - 09:21

    Ha ha, looks good on you MacAdam, guess you didn't get the slide through life you thought you were entitled to. I'd suggest you try something involving manual labor but your hands would probably crack from being so soft while you were hosting tea parties in Ottawa.

  • johnthames
    May 17, 2014 - 08:42

    MacAdam, Estabrooks and Dorsey. Now there's an ethically challenged, very entitled lot. These former Binns' conservatives, and now Stephen Harper liege men expect a very nice living from the taxpayer, and they are quite happy to reward one another handsomely and unethically -- by employing patronage which has not only cost the taxpayer millions in salaries, but also millions in pensions as we support this lot into their ripe old age. Thankfully there is still some level of functioning at the federal level even with Stephen Harper is working hard to ensure it operates like good ole PEI as soon as possible. I'm sure these entitled chaps see no problem with their actions and are quite incensed that someone should stop them from continuing to bilk the taxpayer their entire lives. Certainly pleased the judge ruled in this way... these fellows deserve some small comeuppance even though they will suffer no major penalty and continue to reap large taxpayer funded salaries for questionable return. Disgraceful.

  • Humanitarian
    May 17, 2014 - 08:40

    After all these years , we are still getting fallout from the Binns Tory regime. Binns top henchman , Currie, said on the legislatures steps"we'll look after our own". That government will go down in the history books as our most shameful. And yes, Binns had a pretty soft landing too. Sad

    • don
      May 17, 2014 - 13:22

      sorry to tell you but ghiz is #1 on that list. he has given more jobs to family and friends then any government in island history and made jobs to suit. i am sure if you fired all the ones he has hired you will have most of the government offices closed. but tell me why does ghiz need 6 Secretaries?

  • Chester L
    May 17, 2014 - 06:58

    The View from Martinvale......chester L...well sir 1. Nothing against this on a personal basis. 2. It is no wonder that " much apathy " abounds 3. So the well connected look after their own. 4. Was Brian S properly looked after re his 22 years service with ACOA and then pushed in this direction by Dorsey...... 5. So the " public troughing " goes in all areas to " enrich " the friends of the friends so they get that big pension ,entitlement , whatever it may be called at the end of the day at " we the taxpayer's expense.......... 6. A sad commentary but how much more do we know as our Senator Downe now wants MP's expenses looked at??...Why Not! 7 $130,000 + perks not bad pay average for what ever work was done for others, who knows 8. Its not a happy story or happy ending, sad that " the rules of engagement " and " justice served " take so long to expose wrong doing.:(

  • don
    May 17, 2014 - 06:50

    hint hint ghiz you have done the same thing how many times? giving patronage jobs to your family friends of the party. when you are kicked out i hope they lose the jobs asap.