Miller to step down as CGC chief commissioner

The top appointed executive at the Canadian Grain Commission is stepping down from her job.

CGC chief commissioner Patti Miller announced her intention to retire in an internal email to CGC staff members on Feb. 18.

Miller was appointed chief commissioner at the CGC in 2017. Her six-year term at the commission’s top executive was not due to expire until February 2023.

Miller’s email did not say why she was retiring.

“It is with mixed emotions that I’m letting you know of my retirement effective June 26, 2020,” Miller said in her email to CGC staff members.

“2020 marks my 35th year in agriculture, 25 of those working in the public service. It has been such a privilege to be able to work with the talented and dedicated staff at the Canadian Grain Commission. You do so much to honour our commitment to Canadians and the grain sector. It was a difficult decision to make but the time has come for me to turn my attention to this next phase of my life and I will leave knowing you are in very capable hands.…

“The (federal agriculture) minister has asked that a competitive process start as soon as possible.”

CGC spokesperson Remi Gosselin confirmed that Miller had announced her intention to step down.

Gosselin said Feb. 21 that Miller was away and was not immediately available for comment.

“I don’t have any information beyond what was sent to staff,” he said.

“It’s the minister’s office’s prerogative to make any kind of communication about political appointments.”

Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau issued a short statement, thanking Miller for her service.

“During her time at the CGC, she (Miller) has helped modernize the organization and begin the review of the Canadian Grain Act,” Bibeau said.

“In order to ensure an orderly transition, Ms. Miller will be in place until June 2020.…

“We will be launching an open, transparent and merit-based process to find a new commissioner as soon as possible.”

Last year, Ottawa announced a plan to review the Canada Grain Act as well as the role of the Canadian Grain Commission.

The CGC was created in 1912 to oversee monitor and regulate the Canadian grain industry and protect the interests of producers.

Reports in the western Canadian farm media in early 2019 suggested that a rift had developed between Miller and others at the commission, including assistant chief commissioner Doug Chorney, who farms near East Selkirk, Man., and commissioner Lonny McKague, a grain producer from Ogema, Sask.

Miller denied the implications in a subsequent interview.

In her statement thanking Miller, Bibeau said Ottawa remains committed to modernizing Canada’s Grain Act.

“While the process is still taking shape, we are committed to holding consultations in order to hear from grain farmers, stakeholders, and parliamentarians,” she said.

Gosselin said the Chorney would assume the responsibilities of the chief commissioner if a replacement for Miller is not named prior to her departure.

“If there’s no successor named (by June 26), then the assistant chief commissioner would assume the responsibility of the position until someone is selected.”

Chorney declined to comment on Miller’s retirement when reached by phone last week.

Contact brian.cross@producer.com

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