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Liberal research bureau hires former ITK comms officer for outreach work

By Laura Ryckewaert      

Employment Minister Patty Hajdu scoops up now-former aide to Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly.

Liberal MPs, including Jane Philpott, pictured here during a caucus meeting on the Hill. The caucus gets research, communications and other support from the party's research office on the Hill, which recently welcomed a new outreach assistant.
The Hill Times file photograph

A new outreach assistant recently started work in the Liberal caucus’ research bureau on the Hill, also known as the LRB.

Mitchell White officially started on the job as a special assistant for outreach on Jan. 22. Before then, he was working for the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), a non-profit organization that represents Inuit communities in Canada, as a communications officer and editor of Inuktitut magazine, a role which saw him responsible for managing all ITK publications, including the magazine, a quarterly newsletter, and the ITK’s annual report.

As described in a current job posting for the position on ITK’s website, “other duties may include producing in-house publications, placing advertisements, drafting press releases, writing correspondence and managing lists and photo archives.”

Mitchell White is now working in the Liberal caucus’ research bureau. Photograph courtesy of LinkedIn

He first began working for ITK in 2013 as a junior communications officer. Mr. White has previously also worked for the OKâlaKatiget Society, a non-profit organization based in Nain, N.L. which was founded in 1984 by Heritage Canada and works to provide “a regional, native communications service for the people on the North Coast and Lake Melville region of Labrador,” as described on its website.

He spent a little over two years starting in 2005 as a radio producer for the society, and later returned for almost two-and-a-half years as a program director. In this latter role, he was for a time a member representative on the board of directors for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, as indicated on his LinkedIn account.

Mr. White studied communications and political science at Carleton University, and also has a diploma in journalism fro the College of the North Atlantic in Newfoundland and Labrador, as described in his online profile.

He’s also a former fellow with The Gordon Foundation’s Jane Glassco Northern Fellowship, which “brings together young northerners, aged 25 to 35, who want to build a strong North that benefits northerners,” according to the foundation’s website.

Alan Ning is also currently serving as a special assistant for outreach and operations in the LRB, working under director of outreach Angad Dhillon.

In more belated news, Michel Carpentier became a special assistant the LRB back at the end of October. Before then, he’d been working on the Hill as an assistant to Liberal MP Arif Virani, who represents Parkdale-High Park, Ont.

Mr. Carpentier previously spent almost a decade working for the government of Saskatchewan, including as manager of executive operations for the president and CEO of the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority, and is also a former committee researcher in the province’s legislature. He studied political science at the University of Saskatchewan.

Melissa Cotton is managing director of the research office, which works to support the party’s caucus on the Hill with research, communications products, bill kits and the like. The LRB was allocated a budget of $3,028,200 for 2017-18.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau has hired Anson Duran to serve as a special assistant for parliamentary affairs in his office.

Until recently, Mr. Duran was working on the Hill as a member’s assistant to Liberal MP Steven MacKinnon, who was elected for the first time to represent Gatineau, Que., in 2015. He started in the MP’s office in April 2017, according to his LinkedIn account, and before that was working as a lawyer at Robinson Sheppard Shapiro in Montreal as part of its business law department.

Anson Duran is working for Transport Minister Marc Garneau. Photograph courtesy of LinkedIn

In this job, he helped to draft and negotiate commercial contracts, including shareholder agreements, commercial leases and non-disclosure agreements, along with representing clients, as described on his online profile. He studied civil law at the University of Ottawa, and before that, communications at the University of Montreal.

Back in 2012, Mr. Duran ran unsuccessfully as a candidate for the Québec Liberal Party in the provincial riding of Gouin, Que. He ended up placing third with roughly 11.7 per cent of the vote, ultimately losing out to now former Québec solidaire MNA Françoise David, who in 2012 was elected with about 46 per cent of the vote.

Mr. Duran has also previously worked as assistant to the director of business development and marketing for Gamerizon, a video game development company based in Montreal.

Now an assistant for parliamentary affairs to Mr. Garneau, Mr. Duran fills a slot opened up following the recent promotion of Jean Proulx.

Previously a special assistant for parliamentary affairs and issues management, Mr. Proulx is now a policy adviser to the transport minister. Mr. Proulx has been an aide to Mr. Garneau for roughly eight years now, starting out as his parliamentary assistant as the Liberal MP for the then-named riding of Westmount-Ville-Marie, Que., which was renamed Notre-Dame-de-Grâce-Westmount, Que., ahead of the 2015 federal election. He joined Mr. Garneau’s ministerial office early on, in December 2015.

Gurveen Chadha is director of policy to Mr. Garneau. Heather Chiasson is another special assistant for parliamentary affairs in the office, which Jean-Philippe Arseneau oversees as chief of staff.

Also currently working for the minister are: Marc Roy, director of communications; Delphine Denis, press secretary; Melany Gauvin, senior communications adviser; Adel Boulazreg, policy adviser; Shane McCloskey, policy adviser; Alexander Jagric, senior special assistant for issues management; and special assistants William Harvey Blouin and Sébastien Beaupré-Huot.

Ministers Hajdu, O’Regan hire new political assistants

Employment, Workforce Development, and Labour Minister Patty Hajdu has hired a new special assistant for Quebec to her ministerial office, plucking Jean-Sébastien Bock-Nadeau straight out of National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier’s office.

Jean-Sébastien Bock-Nadeau is now working for the Employment minister. Photograph courtesy of LinkedIn

Mr. Bock-Nadeau had been working in Ms. Lebouthillier’s office since March 2016, starting off as assistant to the minister’s parliamentary secretary and special assistant, and later becoming a policy adviser and special assistant. He officially started on the job in Ms. Hajdu’s office on Jan. 31.

He’s previously worked with the Foundation of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts as president of the events and promotion committee for young philanthropists, and before that spent a number of years working for Montreal International, an investment promotion agency for the greater Montreal area, as indicated by his LinkedIn profile.

Other regional assistants in Ms. Hajdu’s office currently include: Tahiya Bakht, special assistant for Ontario; Annie Morrison, special assistant for the Atlantic region; Laura Pennell, special assistant for western and northern Canada. Matthew Mitschke is chief of staff to the employment minister.

Veterans Affairs and Associate Defence Minister Seamus O’Regan recently expanded his political staff team by one, with the addition of Sarah Cozzi as a legislative assistant and issues manager.

Ms. Cozzi officially started working in the minister’s office the week before last, and before then had been working on the Hill as legislative assistant to Liberal MP Vance Badaway, who represents the federal riding of Niagara Centre, Ont. and was elected for the first time in 2015. Mr. Badaway beat out NDP incumbent Malcolm Allen for the seat last election, garnering roughly 35.7 per cent of the vote.

Along with being a member of the Canada-Italy Interparliamentary Group and the Canada-U.S. Interparliamentary Group, Mr. Badaway is a member of the House Transport, Infrastructure, and Communities Committee, and vice-chair of the Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations. He’s also a member of the Liberal Indigenous caucus. While in the MPs office, Ms. Cozzi would have become familiar with the issues and work of these bodies.

In a 2016 profile of Mr. Badaway’s staff team by the Welland Tribune—one of four papers acquired by TorStar in a recent end-of-year swap with Postmedia, involving more than 40 dailies, to remain in operation—Ms. Cozzi is described as the office’s “research guru.” The piece also indicates she’s a Ridgeville, Ont. native, and, like her former boss, attended Notre Dame College School, a Catholic high school in Welland, Ont.

Now in Mr. O’Regan’s cabinet office, Ms. Cozzi will be working under Jeff Valois, the minister’s director of parliamentary affairs and issues management.

Cyndi Jenkins is chief of staff to Mr. O’Regan, who was named Veterans Affairs minister on Aug. 28. His office as minister also currently includes: Paul McCarthy, director of policy; John Embury, director of communications; Alex Wellstead, press secretary; Katherine Heus, senior policy adviser; Émilie Simard, Ontario regional affairs adviser; Christian Dicks, Atlantic regional affairs adviser; Bernard O’Meara, special assistant for stakeholder relations and operations; Laurel Chester, special assistant for stakeholder relations and operations; Daniel Bourque, special assistant; and Jessica Eritou, executive assistant to the minister.

The Hill Times

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