Former Finning CEO and Liberal policy advisor speaks in Castlegar

Jim Shepard spoke to Castlegar citizens about BC's economic future on Wednesday evening at the Castlegar Complex.

Former senior policy advisor to Premier Clark

Former senior policy advisor to Premier Clark

Jim Shepard spoke to Castlegar citizens about BC’s economic future on Wednesday evening at the Castlegar Complex.

Shepard is a former CEO of Finning International and Canpar Forest Products (CanFor). After four years at the helm of CanFor, Shepard retired. Shortly after, he went into Christy Clark’s office after she won the leadership of the Liberals to become premier of BC. Clark convinced him to become a policy advisor for $1 a year.

“While I was in the premier’s office I got to travel with her to China and India as she was out there promoting and attracting investment into the province and I saw her dozens of times with CEO’s and ministers in complex and sometimes very trying situations, and I saw her as a very, very competent executive leader,” said Shepard. “And yet when I came back to Vancouver, I would see the press reports on her and they were slicing and dicing every little foible and painting her in an entirely different picture. I thought to myself if the public could see what I see day to day with the premier they’d sing her praises to the high heaven.”

It dawned on Sheperd that he couldn’t do anything to help her image while he was in the office. So after one year as policy advisor, he stepped down.

“I went back to being a private citizen because I wanted to share with the public what I witnessed,” he said. “I’m going to share with them as someone who was a chief executive and knows what executive talent is like. I’m going to share with people what I’d seen.”

Shepard met up with other like-minded individuals who were tired of seeing Clark being painted so negatively and formed Concerned Citizens for British Columbia.

“I’m here in Castlegar, and other parts of the province, to basically share what I learned working with Christy Clark,” he said. “Seeing her energy, her commitment, her savvy in complex business situations.”

The event was sponsored by Concerned Citizens for British Columbia and the Kootenay Tax Federation.