John Manley a bargain at $1400/day
For the past several months I’ve been quite introspective in my approach to the DTM’s existence, and its coverage of a variety of topics. It was no longer entertaining to point out that, from time to time, the DTM were slow on the draw about an important story (“News flash!: Dead Tree Media unearths connection between subprime and corporate debt“, June 27-07). Or that they were finding story ideas in blogs (“Is imitation truly flattering?”, June, 16-07). Or from each other (“It’s all about ‘alchemy’“, July 21-07). Rest assured, the introspective renaissance isn’t going to end.
That being said, I’d wish that the Globe’s Alan Freeman had read our blog about legal fees (see post “Bigger law firms, even bigger bills“, October 10-07). This arises with the news coverage that former Liberal Finance Minister John Manley will be paid up to $1,400 per day (shock!!) for his service as chair of the panel looking at Canada’s military involvement in Afganistan. Here’s the piece:
“OTTAWA — Nice work if you can get it.
Former deputy prime minister John Manley, who was appointed last week to head a five-member panel of eminent persons investigating the future of Canada’s mission in Afghanistan, will be paid between $1,200 and $1,400 a day by the federal government for his trouble.
According to orders-in-council published by the Privy Council Office, the four other panel members will be getting a per-diem of $850 to $1,000.
All five have been appointed to the position of “special advisers to the prime minister” as members of what is known officially as the Independent Panel on Canada’s Future Role in Afghanistan.
The panel is to submit its report and recommendations by Jan. 31 although their terms end on March 31.
There was no indication of how many days a week the panel is expected to meet but if the schedule calls for 15 days of work a month, that would still result in fees for the regular members of $15,000 per month and more for Mr. Manley.
Mr. Manley has been a lawyer for McCarthy Tetrault since retiring from politics. Former diplomat Derek Burney is currently an adviser to law firm Ogilvy Renault, while former energy minister Jake Epp is chairman of Ontario Power Generation. Onetime broadcaster Pamela Wallin, who also served as Canada’s consul-general in New York, is currently chancellor of Guelph University.
The fifth member is Paul Tellier, former head of Canadian National Railway and onetime clerk of the privy council.”
If Mr. Manley puts in an eight hour day for this committee, and doesn’t get paid for lunch, Canadian’s will be paying him $200/hour to think about the simple issue of whether our military should be fighting terrorism in Afganistan or in North America. I’m pretty sure that this per diem is dramatically lower than what he’d otherwise be earning for his firm from corporate clients in his role as Counsel at McCarthy Tetrault.
$200/hr. is certainly cheaper than the $275/hour that law firms are billing paralegals out at.
Alan Freeman is an experienced fellow and should know better than to start the piece with “nice work if you can get it”. None of Paul Tellier, Derek Burney, Pamela Wallin or Jake Epp are doing this for the money. They’re doing it because our political parties (the non-separatist ones) can’t agree – or don’t want to be seen to agree – on the direction of the Afganistan mission. The mission that Opposition Leader Stephane Dion forgets was launched by former Prime Minister Paul Martin, not the current Prime Minister.
But if the taxpayers need to spend $1,400/day on the Hon. John Manley, I think it’s a bargain. And the Hon. Paul Tellier is having a downright firesale if we can get him at a grand a day.