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Streetwise Former cabinet minister James Moore joins Dentons law firm

James Moore, then industry minister, is shown during Question Period in Ottawa in February, 2015.

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

Former Conservative cabinet minister James Moore, who handled the key Industry Canada portfolio for Stephen Harper for the past two years, has taken a role as a senior business adviser in the Vancouver office of Dentons Canada LLP.

The Canadian arm of the massive global firm announced the hire on Monday, touting Mr. Moore's experience as industry minister, responsible for reviewing large foreign takeovers, as a key benefit for the company's corporate clients. Dentons was created by the 2013 merger of Canada's Fraser Milner Casgrain with two international firms.

Mr. Moore, who was also involved as heritage minister in reforms to Canada's copyright legislation, will not be permitted to lobby government, as per new rules the Tories enacted for former cabinet ministers and government officials. But he will be able to offer strategic advice and insight on how government works. He said his post has been approved by the office of the federal government's conflict-of-interest and ethics commissioner.

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In an interview, he said he will offer the firm and its clients "perspective, and to try to give some kind of assessment of the decision making that may be going on in Ottawa and how it may impact clients."

Mr. Moore said he was attracted to Dentons because of its global reach and its talent. Dentons has been on a spree of mergers of late, with tie-ups announced with firms in China and elsewhere that, when finalized, will see it boast more than 7,000 lawyers and, by head count, clock in as the world's largest law firm.

The firm is already home to several former politicians and public figures, including former prime minister Jean Chrétien, former U.S. ambassador to Canada Gordon Giffin and former speaker of the U.S House of Representatives Newt Gingrich. Mr. Moore, who is not a lawyer, is the first ex-politician adviser hired in the Vancouver office of Dentons.

In June, the 39-year-old announced his intention not to stand for Parliament in the last election in order to spend more time with his family, citing the fact that his toddler son has health problems. But he did work for the Tories in the last, ill-fated campaign.

Mr. Moore echoed the various post-mortems offered by his fellow Tories that this year's Conservative campaign suffered from an electorate eager for change, but also from a negative tone.

"I have the view in general that when Conservatism and optimism are decoupled, Conservatism loses," Mr. Moore said. "In my view, the Conservative Party has to recapture the mantle of nation building, of Sir John A. Macdonald, of building and uniting this country."

He said history will be kinder than voters to Mr. Harper's time as prime minister, but that the Liberals were able to offer Canadians a more appealing message: "I think the public, they are looking for a positive vision, something to gravitate towards, not just, 'I am going to vote for you because you are not as bad as you say the other guys are.' … [Liberal Leader Justin] Trudeau spoke to that, and was rewarded, and I think other political parties should take note."

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