Thank you. I do not think of this position as an acting position. I will give you a brief explanation of the role of an associate deputy minister. In fact, it involves more than one particular project or one issue.
I am going to explain it in English, if I may.
This question has been asked of me, actually, so I've had time to reflect on it. The role of the associate deputy minister in the federal government, which is what I've been appointed to, just as I was at Treasury Board, is really to be a right-hand person, if you like, for the deputy minister, and to assist the deputy minister in running the department.
For example, in my case, I was not brought in for a particular file, issue, challenge, or task, but rather to do what the deputy minister felt was the best way to contribute to the smooth functioning of the department. Since I've come in, I have worked quite a bit on climate change issues, just because they are among the issues preoccupying the department.
But I've also worked on a number of other issues, including management issues within the department as we prepare for our report on plans and priorities and the various other files that go along with that. Going forward, I obviously will be doing what the deputy minister thinks I can best do, including acting on his behalf in instances where he's away or what have you.
So it's not a particular role. Indeed, you can contrast it with an assistant deputy minister role, and maybe only somebody in Ottawa could understand the difference between an assistant deputy minister and an associate. Just to draw that contrast, in my position at Finance as senior assistant deputy minister on tax policy, I was responsible for the tax policy branch and had a group of people who worked directly for me in that capacity.
If I contrast that with an associate deputy role, I don't have a particular branch or area of responsibility, except for the department overall. It can be a very fluid position, if you like, in that as an issue emerges that needs some extra attention, I can be placed on that issue for whatever the deputy minister thinks I can best do.
I'm really part of the deputy minister's office and will have different areas of emphasis as time goes by, depending on the challenges the department faces. Although I'm not there yet, because I've only been at the department for seven weeks, over time I would be expected to be involved to some extent in pretty much all of the issues that face the department.
It is a long explanation, but I hope that it is a relatively good description of the particular role of an associate deputy minister.