Richard Fadden

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Richard Fadden
National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister and Associate Secretary to the Cabinet
In office
January 19, 2015 – March 31, 2016
Prime MinisterStephen Harper
Justin Trudeau
SecretaryJanice Charette
Preceded byStephen Rigby
Succeeded byDaniel Jean
Deputy Minister of National Defence
In office
May 13, 2013 – January 18, 2015
Preceded byRobert Fonberg
Succeeded byJohn Forster
7th Director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service
In office
June 2009 – May 2013
Preceded byJim Judd
Succeeded byMichel Coulombe
Deputy Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
In office
July 1, 2006 – June 27, 2009
Preceded byJanice Charette
Succeeded byNeil Yeates
President of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency
In office
Preceded byRonald L. Doering
Succeeded byFrançois Guimont
Personal details
BornSeptember 1951 (age 67)
Alma mater
AwardsOrder of Canada

Richard Brian Marcel Fadden, OC (known as Dick Fadden; born September 1951) is a Canadian former civil servant who was the National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister of Canada and an Associate Secretary to the Cabinet.[1] He retired from that position on March 31, 2016.[2] He had previously served as the Deputy Minister of National Defence from 2013 to 2015. From 2009 to 2013, he was Director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). He was previously the Deputy Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada from 2006 to 2009.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in September 1951, Fadden attended McGill University (Bachelor of Arts, Political Science), Université de Montréal (Bachelor of Laws), and the University of Ottawa (Graduate Diploma in Law).[3]


Fadden spent his career as a civil servant, beginning in 1978 as a Foreign Service Officer in the Department of External Affairs.[4] He moved to the Security and Intelligence Secretariat of the Privy Council Office in 1983. Subsequently, he was Principal Officer with the Auditor General from 1988 and was promoted to legal advisor and assistant Auditor General in the Office of the Auditor General of Canada from 1990 to 1996.

Other postings included:

  • Assistant Deputy Minister, Department of Natural Resources, 1996–1998;
  • Assistant Secretary to the Treasury Board for Government Operations, 1998–2000;
  • Deputy Clerk, Counsel and Security and Intelligence Coordinator, Privy Council Office, 2000–2002;
  • President of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, 2002–2005;
  • Deputy Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 2006–2009.

Director of CSIS[edit]

Fadden served as Director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) from June 2009, when he replaced Jim Judd, until his abrupt resignation in mid-May 2013.

Fadden made headlines in June 2010 by announcing that foreign countries were both performing industrial esponiage against Canada, and trying to influence Canadian politicians. Fadden went on to say that Cabinet Ministers in two provinces, and several municipal politicians, were influenced by a foreign government when making policy decisions.[5]

Several others[quantify] have criticized Fadden for his remarks, especially since they were in a CBC National interview released just before the G8 and G20 summits in Ontario; the interview was conducted earlier in the year, after the CBC approached Fadden to repeat statements he had made in a private (albeit videotaped) speech at the Royal Canadian Military Institute.[6] Although no countries were named the National Post, Globe and Mail, CBC, CTV, and several other Canadian media outlets have speculated that Mr. Fadden is referring to China.[7]

In April 2013, it was announced that Fadden would step down from his position on May 13 to become Deputy Minister of National Defence. Deputy Director of Operations Michel Coulombe was designated as Fadden's replacement, in an interim role until a new director is appointed.[8]

National Security Adviser[edit]

As national security and intelligence adviser, Fadden's "insistence that foreign powers, notably the Chinese Communist Party, had cultivated agents of influence at various levels of government in Canada" hurt his standing with the Liberal Party of Canada, which became the governing party of Canada in late 2015. Fadden was replaced by Daniel Jean, who lacked experience in either national security or intelligence.

Fadden’s concerns have since been borne out by a series of revelations, including a Financial Times investigation that cast light on "an internal document prepared by the overseas section of Beijing’s United Front Works Department" that showed how China was influencing electoral politics in foreign countries.[9] Fadden was quoted as saying “What we’re seeing in Australia and New Zealand, I’ve seen no suggestion that [China is] not trying to do the same thing in every other country in the west, Canada included. Their intelligence organizations are fairly active here,” Fadden said. “I refuse to believe they’re not trying to the same thing in France, the U.K. and Germany. It’s just how they try to exert their influence. I’ve seen nothing to suggest we’re insulated from what we’re seeing in Australia and New Zealand. Nothing, nothing nothing.[10][11]


In 2017, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada by Governor General David Johnston for "distinguished leadership in the federal public service".[12]


  1. ^ "Richard Brian Marcel Fadden". Governor General of Canada. Retrieved 2018-04-18.
  2. ^ "Richard Fadden". Capital Hill Group. Retrieved 2018-04-18.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Boesveld, Sarah. "Government infiltrated by spies, CSIS boss says". Toronto: The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 5 July 2010.
  6. ^ Freeze, Colin; Bailey, Ian (23 June 2010). "CSIS director's future in doubt as politicians decry remarks". Toronto: The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
  7. ^ "Some politicians under foreign sway: CSIS". CBC News. 23 June 2010. Archived from the original on June 26, 2010. Retrieved 5 July 2010.
  8. ^ "CSIS director Richard Fadden shuffled to Defence; Longtime CSIS official Michel Coulombe named interim director". The Canadian Press. April 22, 2013.
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ [2]
  11. ^ [3]
  12. ^ Malyk, Lauren (June 30, 2017). "Nine Ottawans appointed to the Order of Canada". Ottawa Citizen.