Monday, June 29, 2009

Meet the New boss, not at all the same as the old boss, Ridley Terminals gets a temp

There certainly seem to be no second thoughts coming out of Ottawa!

The Federal Transportation Minister hasn't wasted much time in finding someone to grab that corner office at Ridley Terminals from the recently removed Dan Veniez.

With Mr. Veniez's quotes and letters still wafting through the air (and the Internet) the Transport Minister, John Baird outlined who will steer the terminal through these testy times on an interim basis, while the government seeks out a permanent CEO and President.

Stepping into the suddenly controversial job will be Bud Smith, a former cabinet minister in the British Columbia government back in the Social Credit days. Smith was in cabinet from 1986 to 1991, a familiar name in the Kamloops area which he represented and across BC.

From his days in the hard knuckle environment of Social Credit provincial politics he went on to serve on the Boards of Directors for a number of provincial and federal Crown Corporations, included on his resume are stints with British Columbia Development Corporation (BCDC), Canada Post Corporation, and Prince Rupert Port Authority.
As well as his public and private interests, Smith found time to sit on a panel at the Fraser Institute, which chronicled the implications of the Delgamuukw decision, outlined in the Fraser Institutes report Beyond the Nass Valley. A perspective that may of interest, in light of the recent agreement signed by the now departed Mr. Veniez and the Coast Tsimshian.
Smith brings to his Ridley position some background with the workings of the Terminal from his time at the Port Authority and as well during his work with the British Columbia Development Corporation, as the Ridley lands were being assembled for development during his efforts at BCDC.

Both Minister Baird and Minister of State for Transportation Rob Merriwether had high praise for their new appointment, Merriwether who has been in the eye of the Veniez storm in particular provided the positive spin on the new arrival at Ridley. "Mr. Smith's experience and familiarity with the north coast of B.C. and the Port of Prince Rupert is of benefit to RTI, Prince Rupert, and Canadian shipping."

Of course, Mr. Smith is not unfamiliar to Conservatives, thanks to his appointment to the Prince Rupert Port Authority and he has been known to attend one or two Conservative functions in his past.

Mr. Smith will take on his duties immediately and will serve in the capacity of President and CEO until a new chairperson is appointed.

In a rather telling bit of descriptive theatre, the press release issued today outlines the focal point of what the government suggests Ridley is all about, the last line in particular could be taken as a rather sharp rebuke to the just departed holder of the chair and Presidency.

"The terminal was built in the early 1980's to support the development of the coal industry in Northeastern B.C."

That isn't quite the impression as to the mission statement that one would have received over the last few months, especially as the Ridley drama played out in the media leading up to Friday's definitive moment!

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