The following is the part of Jane Taber’s column in the Globe and Mail today, December 4, 2015, that describes the importance of Adam Vaughan’s position as parliamentary secretary.
The article headline is Trudeau gives Bill Blair and Adam Vaughan posts – but not in cabinet. The complete article, accessible to Globe and Mail subscribers may be found here.
Twitter-averse MP becomes parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister
There was surprise in political circles when Justin Trudeau named his cabinet and a handful of his star candidates did not make the cut, including Toronto city activist Adam Vaughan and former Toronto police chief Bill Blair.This week, however, Mr. Trudeau rewarded the MPs by making them parliamentary secretaries. It may not be a cabinet post, but it’s a more prestigious position than being an ordinary MP. Considered a cabinet-minister-in-waiting, being a parliamentary secretary comes with an extra stipend of $16,600 a year, bringing their salaries up to $184,000. They assist their ministers by answering questions in the House or attending events on their behalf. Mr. Vaughan and Mr. Blair are among 35 parliamentary secretaries – 12 are women – and all are matched to a senior minister and department. There are 30 cabinet ministers; some ministers have more than one (Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould has two). The Prime Minister has three parliamentary secretaries – two of whom are in charge of the extra portfolios he took on, Intergovernmental Affairs and Youth. That those areas are under his purview underscores their importance to him and to his mandate. (For example, former prime minister Paul Martin appointed Scott Brison, now the Treasury Board President, as his parliamentary secretary for Canada-U.S. relations. It was at a time when relations were a bit tattered after former Liberal MP Carolyn Parrish stomped on a doll that looked like George Bush for a This Hour Has 22 Minutes episode.) Mr. Vaughan, who beat prominent NDP candidate Olivia Chow in downtown Toronto in the election, was given a top prize as the Prime Minister’s parliamentary secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs. Mr. Trudeau vowed during the election campaign that he would bring in a new era of positive and productive relations with the premiers. Mr. Vaughan, who is an expert on cities and affordable housing, will help manage this important relationship for the Prime Minister. A former journalist, Mr. Vaughan is a good communicator, but he’s wary of the social media tool that so many politicians have embraced: Twitter. “The only thing that really works on Twitter is being funny,” Mr. Vaughan said in an interview in the summer. “The angry stuff … who wants that in their life?” Mr. Vaughan says he has only been on Twitter for a year after being encouraged to join when he first ran for federal politics. He hasn’t tweeted a lot, because he knows his limits.
“I have been described as a smart ass,” he notes. “I am followed by my staff more than anybody else. … There’s a little sound of a submarine surfacing every time I tweet. It goes off in the office and somebody is paid to read it and pull it back [asking] ‘Are you sure? Do you really want to say that?'”