Flaherty Policy Director Speer Quits Canada Government

Sean Speer, who advised both Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty on economic issues, announced he is leaving the government for a research position.

Speer said in an e-mail to friends and colleagues he is leaving after one year as Flaherty’s director of policy. He joined Flaherty’s office after about two years in the Prime Minister’s Office, where he had stints as director of stakeholder relations and senior economic policy adviser.

The departure comes amid speculation that Harper is preparing to re-tool his cabinet as the Conservative government reaches the midpoint of its current mandate. Harper told a Calgary radio station last year he intended to make cabinet changes this summer, and some ministers, including Public Safety Minister Vic Toews and Environment Minister Peter Kent, have either resigned or have said they are prepared to leave cabinet.

Flaherty has said he wants to remain as finance minister until the country eliminates its deficit, which is scheduled for the fiscal year beginning April 2015. Kathleen Perchaluk, a spokeswoman for Flaherty, didn’t immediately return a telephone call and email requesting comment. Speer didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking aditional comment.

During Speer’s time with the government, Harper and Flaherty turned their focus to structural issues such as the increasing exposure in Asian markets and boosting labor mobility, transitioning away from stimulus measures to boost domestic demand.

Speer said he is joining the Fraser Institute, a Vancouver-based research organization that promotes free markets, as a director of its Centre for Fiscal Studies.

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