Comings and Goings: Butts new vice chairman of Eurasia Group; Robinson heads to SFU

Prime Minister’s Justin Trudeau former right-hand man has a new job.

Gerry Butts, Trudeau’s ex-principal secretary who resigned from that post amidst the 2019 SNC-Lavalin controversy, has been named the vice chairman of the Eurasia Group, a political risk and research consulting group he joined earlier this year.

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Butts took over the role on July 1 and the firm says he will work closely with Eurasia Group CEO Maziar Minovi on “strategic initiatives across all areas,” and will provide expertise to clients on “climate and sustainable finance, trade and other global negotiations, political campaigns, and artificial intelligence.” When Butts joined the firm, he helped launch Eurasia Group’s expanded coverage of global climate policy and sustainable finance.

“Gerald’s wealth of experience comes at a time when geopolitics has never had more market-moving relevance,” reads a quote in a press release attributed to Eurasia Group president Ian Bremmer.

“His background negotiating international policy, running national campaigns, and guiding institutions in both government and the private sector will be a tremendous asset to our firm, and our clients who rely on us for sharp analysis in a world increasingly marked by volatility and disruption.”

Minovi said that since Butts joined the firm, he has “substantially broadened our impact by working with our expanding Energy, Climate & Resources practice and enhancing our global macro coverage.”

Butts, a long-time friend to Trudeau, had been described as the head of the prime minister’s brain trust, helping to shape strategies for Trudeau’s 2013 Liberal leadership campaign and eventually, the Liberal Party’s successful 2015 and 2019 election campaigns.

“Since joining Eurasia Group, I’ve had the great pleasure to collaborate with an extraordinary team of experts delivering world-class analysis,” reads a quote attributed to Butts, who also previously served as principal secretary to then-Ontario premier Dalton McGunity and as CEO of the World Wildlife Foundation-Canada.

“I’m excited to deepen my relationship with the firm as we continue developing innovative tools to help people make sense of a turbulent world characterized by unprecedented challenges as well as opportunities.”

Robinson joins SFU for a one-year term as a resident scholar

Former NDP MP Svend Robinson will spend the upcoming school year as the J.S. Woodsworth Resident Scholar at Burnaby’s Simon Fraser University.

A school produced article about the appointment says Robinson’s experiences, namely, standing in solidarity with Cuba and the Palestinian people; being adopted into the Haida Nation in 1985, running for the leadership of the New Democratic Party in 1995 and tackling big pharma, “bring an important perspective that will enrich ongoing discussions within and beyond the university community.” He has also served as a consultant with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

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Svend Robinson on Parliament Hill in 2015. iPolitics/Matthew Usherwood

Robinson, who represented parts of Burnaby from 1979 to 2004 in Parliament, became the first openly gay sitting MP in Canadian history when he came out in 1988. He unsuccessfully sought election in Burnaby North-Seymour in last fall’s federal election, finishing a close second to Liberal MP Terry Beech. The riding is home to the terminal of the Trans Mountain pipeline, whose expansion Robinson steadfastly opposed.

Robinson will begin his one-year term with SFU on Sept. 1, 2020, where he will teach a seminar in the Department of the Humanities during the spring semester and will participate in community outreach activities throughout the academic year with the Institute for the Humanities.

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