Wes Sheridan's new job raising a few eyebrows on P.E.I.

Teresa Wright twright@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on January 17, 2016

Finance Minister Wes Sheridan looks toward his Liberal colleagues as he delivers his budget speech.

©Guardian photo by Brian McInnis

Too cute by half, says Opposiiton, on employment with former vendor of financial services to government

P.E.I.’s former finance minister is working in a familiar area but in a new location.

Wes Sheridan, who served as finance minister in Prince Edward Island from 2007 to 2015, is now working as a pension investment consultant with the firm Morneau Shepell in its Halifax office.

Sheridan, who resigned from office in February 2015, says his work on pension reform in P.E.I. provided him with the expertise and experience needed to now work with the actuarial firm’s pension investment team.

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The company worked with the P.E.I. government in 2013 on an overhaul of its two public sector pension plans.

“Just the extensive work they did, not only in P.E.I., but in New Brunswick with the shared risk program they brought forward, they’ve just been innovators right across the board,” Sheridan said.

“The opportunities and the excitement of what we can do in that field is what led me to want to make this move.”

Opposition finance critic Darlene Compton says this news will raise a few eyebrows among Islanders.

“Morneau Shepell worked with minister Sheridan throughout his eight years as finance minister, so it does raise some questions as to how he’s now employed with them,” Compton said.

“It’s too cute by half to see a major government vendor that has now employed a former cabinet minister, especially so close to his political career ending and given their previous business relationship.”

Sheridan said he did not begin working for the firm until Sept. 1, which was after the six-month cooling-off period for cabinet ministers outlined in the Conflict of Interest Act.

“You have to remember that P.E.I. was a client of Morneau Shepell’s long before I came to government and will be long after and continue to be,” he said.

Sheridan and his wife are now renting a place in Halifax, but have kept their P.E.I. home where they enjoy visits with their new baby granddaughter.

He says he is still getting used to waking up and not seeing the beach, as he did while living in Sea View.

“It all takes time for an old dog to change to new tricks, but the actual work part and the excitement of being part of something as grand as Morneau Shepell has been really interesting.”