Years ago, if you asked former Okanagan MLA Rick Thorpe if he ever saw himself chairing a national board overseeing the Canada Revenue Agency, he would likely have laughed it off.
Last week, that’s exactly what happened when Kerry-Lynne Findlay, minister of national revenue, named Thorpe to a four-year term as chair of the CRA board of management.
Thorpe, who has already served two years as a member of the board, said he is honoured to be named chair.
His focus while a B.C. cabinet minister responsible for reducing red tape and making it easier for people to deal with the government, he continued, mirrors the current direction of the Federal government.
While in provincial office, Thorpe’s portfolios also included small business and economic development, along with various business and tax issues.
He describes himself as a “caring fiscal hawk.”
“I was raised by my late mother to make sure that we were able to help those truly in need.
One of the ways you do that is by making sure you have just a little bit of money in the jar, that the jar is not always empty,” said Thorpe.
“His extensive experience in the public and private sectors as well as his recent experience as a member of the CRA’s board will not only provide continuity and strength to the management of the CRA, but will also benefit the CRA’s overall strategic direction,” said Findlay.
The CRA management board has 15 members, representing all the provinces and the federal government, formed as an arm’s-length oversight body.
“My understanding was it was to make the CRA not part of the overall political system, but to give it the independence and assurance to Canadians that everything was being done with integrity in mind and fairness,” said Thorpe.
“We work on overseeing the organization and the integrity of our tax system and making sure there is an appropriate business plan.”
Thorpe describes the board as an outstanding group of diverse and experienced professionals.
“We have a great group and quite frankly I am excited by this opportunity,” said Thorpe.
The CRA administers tax laws for the federal government and most provinces and territories and various social and economic benefit and incentive programs delivered through the tax system.