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Statement on the Passing of Ian Shugart

Senator and former clerk of the Privy Council was a public servant to the very end.

Sen. Ian Shugart


October 27, 2023

This week, Cardus lost a dear friend with the passing of Sen. Ian Shugart.

Ian rose through the ranks of the federal civil service to become its most senior public servant as clerk of the Privy Council. He was cautious, wise, and thorough—a model public servant. All the while, he was also a pastor and man of deep Christian faith, often preaching in various Ottawa churches.

Ian’s professional resume shows a steady climb through the ranks to become deputy minister of some of the most challenging departments, including what we today would call Employment and Social Development and Global Affairs, before being appointed the highest public servant in Canada after the SNC-Lavalin affair prompted the resignation of his predecessor.

It is telling that at a time when integrity and confidence in the public service most needed confirmation, the government turned to Ian to fill that challenging position.

Despite Ian’s deep concern about the cultural and spiritual direction of the country he served, he stubbornly remained a public servant in its purest form. He was in the tradition of Saint Thomas More, known as the virtuous statesman who never used the means of power to advance a matter of personal interest.

Michael Van Pelt speaking with Ian Shugart

Cardus often benefited from Ian’s generous gifts of his time. In the past two years alone, he joined Cardus on six occasions for brainstorming sessions and presentations to our board, staff, and stakeholders, including presenting annually to our NextGEN Fellowship of future Canadian leaders.

We will miss Ian Shugart. All of us at Cardus extend our deepest appreciation to the Shugart family for sharing their husband and father with us and we express our condolences to them.

  • Michael Van Pelt, President and CEO of Cardus, and Ray Pennings, Co-founder and Executive Vice-President of Cardus.

Full personal reflections on Ian Shugart by Michael Van Pelt and Ray Pennings are available online.

Daniel Proussalidis
Cardus – Director of Communications

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