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Hill Life & People

Rachel Doran exits PMO for top job with Indigenous Services Minister Philpott

By Laura Ryckewaert      

New advance aide joins Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Office.

Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott, pictured speaking to media on Parliament Hill, has lined up a new chief of staff, with John Brodhead set to exit at the end of the month. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade
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Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott has a new chief of staff lined up to run her office, with Rachel Doran coming in from the Prime Minister’s Office on April 16 to begin transitioning into her new job.

Until recently, Ms. Doran had been a policy adviser in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office since February 2017, working on the Indigenous and northern affairs, sport, persons with disabilities, status of women, and justice files.

Before coming to work for the federal government in Ottawa, she was a counsel in the aboriginal law section of the Ontario ministry of natural resources’ legal services branch.

Ms. Doran has a background in law—particularly in aboriginal law—having studied it at McGill University, and is a member of the Quebec Bar and the Law Society of Upper Canada, as indicated on her LinkedIn profile.

Rachel Doran will be taking over as chief of staff to the Indigenous Services Minister. Photograph courtesy of LinkedIn

She’s a former civil litigator for the Ontario regional office of the federal department of justice, a former articling student with Justice Canada, and a former articling student with Dionne Schulze S.E.N.C., an aboriginal law firm in Montreal.

Ms. Doran, who’s bilingual, is also a former law student with Ontario’s Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs, a former student law clerk with the Nunavut Court of Justice, and a former legal researcher with Montreal-based law firm Tremblay, Kidd & Associates, amongst other past experience. Along with a law degree, she has a bachelor of arts in international development studies from McGill.

In Ms. Philpott’s office, she’s set to take over from John Brodhead, who announced in a Facebook post April 11 his plan to exit the minister’s office, and the Hill, at the end of the month. He’ll be moving back to Toronto to do policy and strategy work for Sidewalk Labs, an Alphabet Inc. company, as previously reported by Hill Climbers.

While Ms. Doran has now departed, the PMO policy team still includes policy advisers Patrick Travers, Tyler Meredith, Christina Rettig, Maxime Dea, and Sarah Goodman; special assistants Laurence Harvey, Sarah Hussaini, Amitpal Singh Basati, and Kathleen Davis. Michael McNair is in charge of the team as executive director of cabinet and legislative affairs, aided by deputy director Sabina Saini.

Over in Ms. Philpott’s office, Ms. Doran joins Brian Kaufmann, director of parliamentary affairs; Micol Zarb, director of communications; Andrew MacKendrick, director of issues management and media relations; Rachel Rappaport, press secretary; senior policy advisers Maya Borgenicht, Jessica Hayden, and Kyle McKenzie; Sherry Anne Smith, senior special assistant for Western regional affairs; Steven Caron, special assistant for communications and Quebec regional affairs; Ana Fujarczuk, special assistant for Ontario regional affairs; Kathy Kettler, special adviser; Jeffrey Copenace, special adviser; Bismah Haq, legislative assistant; and Cindy Dawson, executive assistant, scheduling.

Meanwhile, federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau has a new political aide in his ministerial office, with the recent addition of assistant Alexandra Scott-Larouche.

Ms. Scott-Larouche joins Mr. Garneau’s staff team from the table research branch of the House of Commons’ procedural services, where she’d been working under the title of senior administrative assistant.

Jean-Philippe Arseneau is chief of staff to the transport minister. Also currently working in the office are political aides; Gurveen Chadha, director of policy; Marc Roy, director of communications; Melany Gauvin, senior communications adviser; Delphine Denis, press secretary; Adel Boulazreg, policy adviser; Shane McCloskey, policy adviser; and special assistants Heather Chiasson, William Harvey Blouin, and Sébastien Beaupré-Huot.

It cost a total of $1.3-million to run the transport minister’s office in 2016-17, as reported in the most recent Public Accounts. Of that, $1,191,956 was for personnel costs.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau bulks up his advance team by one

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently bulked up his advance team—which helps scope out and plan the PM’s trips and events—by one, having hired Laurie Bouchard as a new advance.

Laurie Bouchard has joined the Prime Minister’s Office. Photograph courtesy of LinkedIn

Before joining the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Ms. Bouchard was a government relations consultant with TACT Intelligence-conseil, a Quebec-based communications and government relations firm.

A former Quebec Liberal staffer, she’s done communications work for the province’s minister of energy and natural resources, and is a member of the Quebec Bar. Prior to joining TACT, Ms. Bouchard was a lawyer with Dussault Gervais Thivierge, a Quebec-based law firm specializing in civil litigation.

“Her time in the legal field has strengthened her very keen sense of rigour, efficiency, and resourcefulness,” reads Ms. Bouchard’s bio on TACT’s website.

“Her legal background has also allowed her to perfect her analysis of complex files with a highly Cartesian approach in order to develop successful solutions to fulfill the mandate and address the needs of the client,” it continues.

Ms. Bouchard studied law at the Université Laval, and has been involved with the Youth Commissioner of the Liberal Party of Quebec, among other things.

Now in the PMO, she joins the advance team overseen by Susan Menchini, deputy director of tour and scheduling, under the communications and planning section of the office, which is run by executive director Kate Purchase.

Terry Guillon and Vanessa Hage-Moussa are media advances, while Adam Grech, Alexandra Bernier, Kate VanGerven, Daniel Langer, and Julie Tatone are all advances.

In other news, communications planner Jordan Deagle has been promoted to the title of senior manager of communications planning in the PMO. He’s been working in the top office since late 2015, starting off as a lead writer before being made a communications planner in January 2017.

A former Jaimie Anderson Parliamentary intern in Liberal MP Scott Brison’s office in 2014, he spent about half a year leading up to the 2015 federal election working as a communications assistant in Mr. Trudeau’s office as leader of the third party during the last Parliament.

Other political staff in the PMO’s communications and planning section are: Cameron Ahmad, deputy director of communications; Dave Sommer, deputy director of digital and creative; Noémie Julien, senior manager of long term planning; Brittany Perreault, senior manager of speech writing; James McMillan, leader writer; Gabrielle Cesvet, speechwriter; Clare Donohue-Meyer, writer; and Johanna Robinson, social and digital content coordinator.

There’s also Michael Den Tandt, communications adviser to the prime minister; Adam Scotti, photographer; press secretary Eleanore Catenaro, Chantal Gagnon, and Amreet Kaur; special assistants Hanna Kambo and Marie-Pascale Des Rosiers; and Véronique Simard, executive assistant to Ms. Purchase.

Katie Telford is PMO chief of staff, while Gerald Butts is principal secretary. The PMO in all currently includes 90 political staffers. It cost roughly $8.4-million to run the office in 2016-17, according to the Public Accounts. Most of that, $7,462,686 in all, was to cover personnel costs, with the second highest figure being transportation and communications expenses, at $792,234.

Speaking of Ms. Cesvet, Mr. Trudeau reportedly presented the PMO speechwriter with a signed copy of the speech she wrote and which he delivered, in French, before the French National Assembly on April 17. It marked the first time ever that a sitting Canadian prime minister had spoken to the French national assembly. In it, Mr. Trudeau spoke about inclusive economic growth, progressive trade, environmental protections, and gender parity.

PMO speechwriter Gabrielle Cesvet, third from left, pictured watching Prime Minister Justin Trudeau deliver a speech she wrote at the French National Assembly. Photograph courtesy of Adam Scotti

In a tweet noting the interaction, Global News chief political correspondent David Akin reported that shortly after boarding the government’s plane in France to head to London, U.K., Mr. Trudeau went to the back of the cabin to present Ms. Cesvet with her signed copy.

“Nice touch,” commented Mr. Akin in his tweet.

Responding to it, Ms. Purchase wrote: “Well deserved for brilliant young speechwriter @gcsevet!”

lryckewaert@hilltimes.com
The Hill Times

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