Casson earns Privy Council appointment

Former University of Lethbridge employee and current Member of Parliament, Rick Casson, was recently appointed to Privy Council by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, Laurie Hawn, joins Casson as the two newest Privy Councillors.

"I am pleased today to announce the appointments of Laurie Hawn and Rick Casson as Privy Councillors, following their many years of dedication and hard work in the House of Commons, including on Canada's engagement in Afghanistan," says Harper. "Both Mr. Hawn and Mr. Casson continue to meet the highest standards of public service to the benefit of their constituents and all Canadians."

Long recognized as an honourable man by the constituents of his southern Alberta riding, Casson now carries the official designation of "Honourable" to the Queen's Privy Council for Canada following a ceremony at Rideau Hall.

Prior to his election as a Member of Parliament, Casson served for many years as a University of Lethbridge employee (manager of the printing services department), and as a community volunteer and elected county representative in his hometown of Picture Butte, Alta.

"This is an unexpected and very special honour," says Casson.

His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, only hours after being sworn-in as the 28th Governor General of Canada, presided over Casson's swearing in ceremony.

Privy Councillors are members of The Queen's Privy Council for Canada, established under the Constitution Act, 1867 to advise the Crown. The Privy Council includes all past and present ministers, as well as a number of select persons. The Governor General, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, appoints members to Privy Council.

"I am very grateful to Prime Minister Harper for considering me for this appointment, which is given to very few Canadians outside the ranks of government ministers, governor generals and chief justices," says Casson.

"It was an honour to have Canada's new governor general preside over my swearing in as Privy Council member among his inaugural duties, as I had attended Mr. Johnston's own swearing-in ceremony earlier today."

Casson is a five-term Member of Parliament, who has been named Chair of the Special Committee on the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan and Chair of the Alberta Caucus. He was also named the Canadian Chair of the Permanent Joint Board on Defence, a Canadian-American advisory body established at Ogdensburg, NY in 1940 by Prime Minister Mackenzie King and United States President F.D. Roosevelt.

"On behalf of the University of Lethbridge we would like to congratulate Rick on being appointed as a member of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada," says U of L Board of Governors Chair Bob Turner.

"The fact that very few Canadians are appointed as Privy Councillor makes this appointment all the more exceptional. Canada, and more specifically southern Alberta, is a better place because of his service."

U of L President Mike Mahon adds that, considering the contributions Casson has made to the university, as both an employee and elected Member of Parliament, the U of L could not be more proud of his appointment.

"The U of L has benefited enormously from Rick's hard work over the years, and we cannot think of a more worthy person to receive this prestigious appointment."