New job, old hat

For­mer P.E.I. fi­nance min­is­ter lands job at pen­sion ac­tu­ar­ial firm in Hal­i­fax

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY TERESA WRIGHT

P.E.I.’s for­mer fi­nance min­is­ter is work­ing in a fa­mil­iar area, just 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.

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.”

But 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.”

But Sheri­dan noted 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.”


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