It’s standard procedure when hiring a new employee to contact their former employers.
If that’s what the Yukon Party government did when hiring a new Deputy Minister of Economic Development, it’s easy to see why they settled on Harvey Brooks.
“I worked very closely with Harvey and I like Harvey,” said Len Taylor, Opposition house leader for the Saskatchewan NDP.
“He’s intelligent, he understands people and he handles himself well in meetings — he’s exactly the kind of guy that I would like working for me in government.
“If I were still in government, Harvey Brooks would still be working for me.”
Harvey Brooks has a PhD in Economics from Iowa State University and his career has been focused on economic development and agriculture.
He was a former deputy minister of Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food and has also worked in a number of other departments in the province’s government.
Brooks lost his job last November when the conservative Saskatchewan Party took power.
He and seven other senior deputies were given pink slips during the civil service shakeup that followed.
Taylor couldn’t say why some deputy ministers kept their posts and others did not — although it is often commonplace for deputy ministers to be shuffled or moved out when a government changes.
“I don’t see Harvey as particularly partisan, I see him as being a people person who understands his job,” said Taylor.
“So I, for one, was surprised when I heard that Harvey was no longer working as a deputy minister.”
However, Brooks was replaced by a close friend of the new government, continued Taylor.
“I think she wanted the job in agriculture and the government made room for her.
“At the end of the day, it was awarding their friends as opposed to moving him based on his work or reputation.”
Brooks served under Taylor as his deputy minister of intergovernmental affairs and the two worked together for nearly two years.
“Harvey comes with a background in economic development and agriculture — having previously worked with the Canadian Wheat Board,” said Taylor.
“And I can also tell you that Harvey has a very worldly view of things.”
Brooks and Taylor travelled to Hong Kong in 2005 to attend the World Trade Organization’s conference.
Brooks was able to provide well-reasoned advice to the minister who passed it on to Canada’s negotiators.
“I think we’ll regret losing Harvey in Saskatchewan.”
But it sounds as though Saskatchewan’s loss might be the Yukon’s gain.
More than 100 applications were received for the Yukon’s deputy minister position.
Brooks succeeds Eugene Lysy, who retired earlier this year.