A failed Liberal Party candidate and friend of the prime minister’s senior adviser just nabbed a top diplomatic post — at double the usual salary.
Ran Sarkar will be gong to San Francisco as consul-general and getting paid between $221,300 and $260,300 (CDN) annually, the Globe and Mail reports.
The usual salary is half that.
Sarkar just happens to be a friend of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s right hand man, Gerald Butts. He ran unsuccessfully as Liberal Party candidate in two different Toronto-area constituencies, first in 2011 and then in 2015.
Butts says the salary shouldn’t turn any heads when considering that Sarkar is transferring from the private sector to public service.
“Ran Sarkar’s salary as CG is completely in line with those other appointments from the private sector,” Butts tweeted.
8. Rana Sarkar's salary as CG is completely in line with those other appointments from the private sector.
— Gerald Butts (@gmbutts) August 21, 2017
Sarkar, who has no foreign service experience, is now one of the highest paid Canadian diplomats. He is a former president of the Canada-India Business Council and will be leaving a national director job at KPMG. The appointment was one of many that Trudeau made just prior to the beginning of the NAFTA renegotiation talks.
The Prime Minister’s Office is defending the appointment and the salary.
“San Francisco and Silicon Valley is among the most important diplomatic positions in the world,” Cameron Ahmed, a Trudeau spokesman, told CTV News.
“Mr. Sarkar’s mandate is far greater than what the position has traditionally entailed,” said Ahmed.
“Mr. Sarkar has the expertise and experience to help make this happen,” said Ahmed.
But Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) Peter Kent points out that Sarkar was willing to work for a lot less money when he tried to become an MP himself. The base salary for the position is $172,700 a year. Kent told the Globe and Mail that the appointment is “classic Liberal cronyism.”