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PMO hires new issues adviser straight out of Finance Minister Morneau’s office

By Laura Ryckewaert      

Meanwhile, NDP deputy director communications Sarah Andrews is exiting her role at the end of the month.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently scooped up Chloé Luciani-Girouard from Finance Minister Bill Morneau's office to join the issues management team in the PMO under director Ryan Dunn. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade
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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office has recruited a new issues adviser to its fold straight out of Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s office.

Chloé Luciani-Girouard marked her first day in the issues management branch of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on May 14. She fills a gap left by the recent departure of former PMO issues adviser Sandra Aubé, who is now director of communications to Small Business and Tourism Minister Bardish Chagger, who is also the government House leader.

Chloé Luciani-Girouard is now an issues adviser in the Prime Minister’s Office. Photograph courtesy of LinkedIn

Until recently, Ms. Luciani-Girouard had been press secretary to Mr. Morneau since June 2017, and before that was press secretary and issues manager to National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier for almost a year and a half.

She first arrived on Parliament Hill in March 2016, and before then was a public affairs adviser for Québec en Forme. Ms. Luciani-Girouard previously worked at the Quebec national assembly as a political attaché to the president of the assembly—it’s Speaker—Jacques Chagnon, the Liberal MNA for Westmount-Saint-Louis, Que. She’s also previously been active with the Quebec Liberal party, including as a member of it’s youth commission.

In an email response to Hill Climbers last week, Mr. Morneau’s director of communications, Daniel Lauzon, said the “search for a press secretary continues, and we’ve had a lot of interest from very qualified candidates.”

“Chloé’s spot-on instincts and great sense of humour will be missed at finance, but they are serving the government well over at PMO,” said Mr. Lauzon.

Also currently tackling communications work in Mr. Morneau’s office are former PMO lead speechwriter Jeni Armstrong, as a senior communications adviser, and Matthew Barnes, special assistant for communications. Ben Chin is now chief of staff to the finance minister.

Now in the PMO, Ms. Luciani-Girouard is working alongside fellow issues advisers Gillian Hanson, Michael Jones and Michael Power in the issues management unit, led by director Ryan Dunn. There’s also issues coordinator Samantha Khalil, and legislative assistant Sebastien Belliveau.

Elyse Surette-DiMuzio has joined the Prime Minister’s Office. Photograph courtesy of LinkedIn

Elyse Surette-DiMuzio has also joined the PMO as a new communications planner, as of last week. Until recently, she’d been a communications adviser at the federal Liberal Party’s headquarters, having started there as a social media manager in March 2016, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Before that, she spent a few months as a change management officer with the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, and spent the summer of 2015 as an internal social media officer with the Justice department, amongst other past experience.

Ms. Surette-DiMuzio has a bachelor’s degree in political science and international relations from McGill University and a master of business administration from Carleton University.

Jordan Deagle is planning manager in the PMO’s communications and planning unit; Noémie Julien is senior manager of long term planning. Kate Purchase is executive director of communications and planning for the prime minister, but is currently on maternity leave until January 2019. Cameron Ahmad is deputy director of communications in the PMO.

In other office news, PMO Ontario regional desk adviser Jamie Kippen has taken an unpaid leave of absence to work on the Ontario Liberal election campaign team behind premier Kathleen Wynne. Lindsay Hunter remains in place in the PMO as Ontario regional desk adviser.

Zita Astravas, a former PMO issues management director and current chief of staff to National Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, has also taken an unpaid leave of absence to work on the Ontario Liberal campaign as of last week, as previously reported.

Two other federal Liberal staffers who have taken leave to work on the provincial campaign so far are Jeff Kovalik-Plouffe, a senior adviser to Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr, and Kazim Habib, a special assistant for parliamentary affairs and outreach to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Minister Ahmed Hussen.

Katie Telford is PMO chief of staff, while Gerald Butts is principal secretary.

Meanwhile, over in Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett’s office, the minister’s director of policy and regional affairs, Sarah Welch, continues to also act as chief of staff.

Ms. Welch took on the acting role roughly a month ago, after the minister’s former chief of staff, Rick Theis, left to become a policy adviser in the Prime Minister’s Office.

Ms. Welch has been working for Ms. Bennett as minister since the beginning of 2016, back when she was the minister responsible for the old Indigenous affairs portfolio, and before that was a senior policy adviser to Ontario Liberal Aboriginal Affairs Minister David Zimmer, who’s also the MPP for Willowdale, Ont. She’s got a long list of experience in politics, including at the federal level under Paul Martin’s Liberal government and in then Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff’s office. She’s also been a ministerial aide to then-B.C. Liberal multiculturalism minister John Yap.

As the hunt continues for a new chief of staff, Ms. Bennett is also in need of a new press secretary, after Sabrina Williams exited the minister’s office last month. Since then, director of communications and issues management James Fitz-Morris has been flying solo in handling communications work and media requests for Ms. Bennett.

One recent staff hire to the minister’s office is the addition of policy adviser Jennifer Bouchard at the beginning of April.

Of Scottish and Mohawk (Six Nations of the Grand River) descent, Ms. Bouchard is a former community engagement officer for the Canadian Human Rights Commission’s National Aboriginal Initiative, and has also previously been a mediator and human rights officer with the commission.

She’s now working alongside policy and regional affairs advisers Emmaline English, Annalisa Harris, and Daniel Pujdak, as well as special adviser for policy and regional affairs Tiara Folkes.

Also currently working as political staffers to Ms. Bennett are: Vincent Haraldsen, director of parliamentary affairs; Julie Hill, senior special assistant; Charlotte McKenna, special assistant for legislative affairs; Matthew Dillon, special assistant for issues management; and Alexsa McKenzie, assistant to the minister’s parliamentary secretary, Liberal MP Yvonne Jones.

NDP communications staff changes underway

NDP deputy director of communications for media Sarah Andrews is heading for the door at the end of the month after roughly seven months on the job.

Outgoing NDP deputy director of communications Sarah Andrews, pictured in yellow at the centre of a media scrum outside the House of Commons Chamber earlier this year. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

Ms. Andrews had been an NDP caucus press secretary since May 2016 before being promoted to the role of deputy director as of November 2017. She was a former aide to then NDP House leader Peter Julian, and has also previously worked as a Hill assistant to then NDP MPs Marc-André Morin and Marie-Claude Morin.

A going away bash was held for Ms. Andrews at Les 3 Brasseurs, a couple of blocks south of Parliament Hill in downtown Ottawa, on May 16. In an email inviting media to attend the event, Ms. Andrews thanked the press gallery and said, “I will genuinely miss working with all of you on a daily basis.”

The NDP recently hired on a new caucus press secretary, Kathryn LeBlanc. She’s a former vice president of services and communications for the University of Ottawa’s student federation, her alma mater.

New NDP caucus press secretary Kathryn LeBlanc. Photograph courtesy of LinkedIn

Ms. LeBlanc studied a bachelor of arts at the school and while there was also president of and later an event planner for the English Debating Society. She’s also previously volunteered as a crisis line counsellor at the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre; was a student guide at the Vimy Ridge memorial in France; and was a parliamentary guide with the Library of Parliament for almost two years starting in August 2014, amongst other past experience.

As press secretary, Ms. LeBlanc will focus on working with the NDP MPs from Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta.

Nasha Brownridge became an NDP caucus press secretary, focused on B.C., at the end of March, and was previously a media logistics officer in the NDP caucus services office. She’s also president of the NDP staffers’ union, the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 232.

Orian Labrèche is the Quebec caucus press secretary, having taken on the role a couple of months ago. He was previously a researcher at NDP caucus services.

Further news is expected soon regarding the NDP’s central communications staff team—stay tuned to Hill Climbers for an update.

Willy Blomme is chief of staff in the NDP leader’s office, which is currently being overseen on a day-to-day basis by NDP MP Guy Caron, who’s acting as the party’s parliamentary leader as NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh does not have a seat in the House of Commons.

The NDP has been allocated $1,737,570 to run its caucus research office for 2018-19, and another $2,113,660 for its leaders office for the fiscal year.

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