Premier Christy Clark’s principal secretary leaves for private sector

VICTORIA — Premier Christy Clark has lost one of her top political advisers.

Chris Gardner, a veteran political strategist with deep ties to Surrey, has resigned as Clark’s principal secretary.

“It is time now for Chris to return to the private sector to pursue a new opportunity for him and his wife,” wrote Clark’s chief of staff, Dan Doyle, in an internal email. “But we are fortunate for the contributions he has made because they will have lasting impact as we continue to work to strengthen British Columbia’s diverse economy.”

Gardner had been in the job for about a year. Doyle described it as a “leave from the private sector.”

He’s taken a new job as senior vice-president, North America, for the Civeo Corporation, a U.S.-based logistics company that caters to the oil and gas sector, among other clients.

Gardner had previously served as the City of Surrey’s manager of investment and intergovernmental relations before becoming vice-president of Britco, a modular construction company. He has close ties to former finance minister Kevin Falcon, and helped run the campaigns of former Surrey mayors Doug McCallum and Dianne Watts.

The job of principal secretary to the premier was not immediately filled upon Gardner’s departure.

Several other political staffers to cabinet ministers have also left for private sector jobs in recent weeks. The end of the spring session of the legislature, and the midway point of the B.C. Liberal government’s four-year term in office, is considered a transition time for staff looking to take other jobs before the 2017 provincial election.

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