Pitfield, Peter Michael

Peter Michael Pitfield, civil servant, senator (b at Montréal 18 June 1937), son of financier Ward C. Pitfield and brother of current financier Ward Pitfield of Dominion Securities Pitfield. Although he came to Ottawa in 1959 to work for Conservative Davie FULTON, Pitfield became closely identified with Pierre TRUDEAU and the Liberals after 1968 and became Canada's most prominent and sometimes controversial civil servant.

In 1975 he became clerk of the Privy Council and secretary to Cabinet and profoundly influenced the policies and processes of government. PM Joe CLARK dismissed Pitfield, but he was reinstated when Trudeau returned in 1980. Though he chose to sit as an independent, his appointment to the Senate in 1982 was accompanied by widespread accusations of favouritism. His performance as a senator, however, has been for the most part nonpartisan and he has earned the respect of his fellow senators.