The first part of this special supersized edition of GiornoWatch: Now With Actual Confirmation can be found here. Hit the jump for Part 2.
It’s funny; I would’ve expected this section to have been a prime target for raiding parties from other offices, but Jenni Byrne seems to have kept the whole Issues Management family together, although every one of the remaining staffers seems to have a new title.
James Kusie is no longer listed as deputy director — now he’s a senior officer, which sounds like it should come with a uniform – something in immaculate white, with a jaunty hat and maybe gold lariat as trimming. Jason Plotz, formerly in charge of rapid response and “ministerial liaison” is now “research”, which doesn’t lend itself to a fetching uniform at all, and the regional assistants are now desks. The only newcomer so far would appear to be Matt Wolf, who used to manage parliamentary affairs for Maxime Bernier until — The Incident. Otherwise, it looks like Issues Management has stayed pretty much intact, and I can’t help but think that somewhere, Ian Brodie is smiling. Probably in his backyard, come to think of it; it’s not like he’s dead, after all.
Personnel, Administration and Appointments
Hey, remember how there used to be an entire section devoted to Operations? Oh sure you do. It was headed up by Rosanna Whissell, who ended up as one of the first casualties of the Giornoccupation. As the director went, so – as it turned out – went the office of Operations itself: Its responsibilities – human resources, personnel, harassing harried staffers over even the most modest expense claims – and two remaining staff have been swallowed up by Appointments, which is now known as Personnel, Administration and Appointments, and remains under the gimlet eye of Dave Penner. After spending the last few weeks carrying out Giorno’s orders of execution, at least he’s used to being feared and/or loathed within the office.
Okay, this is where it starts to get a little bit harder to figure out what, exactly, the planner(s)-in-chief have in mind for the new, improved PMO: Under the old regime, Policy and Research were housed in a single section, under the then-policy director Mark Cameron. What Giorno – or Muttart, or Novak, or hey, who knows, maybe the PM himself – has done is cleave the office in half, giving the policy side to Darrel Reid, and leaving Mark Cameron in charge of not just research, but an entirely new office that also includes “planning” and “priorities.” Reid seems to have managed to hold onto most of the staff from the now bifurcated Policy and Research office, including Keith Fountain, the once and possibly future Conservative candidate in Ottawa Centre, who is now responsible for national security and “foreign affaires.” Come to think of it, Reid has a few election defeats under his belt as well, and may be planning to run again; hopefully, the two of them won’t be so distracted by the possibility of a fall election that they won’t be able to concentrate on policy development.
Salpie, Stepanian; Correspondence Unit Manager; (613) 957-5573 Maguire, Craig; Senior Correspondence Writer; (613) 957-5576 Goucher, Emily; Correspondence Writer; (613) 957-5739 Salas, Carolina; Correspondence Writer; (613) 957-5584 Wielgosz, James; Correspondence Writer; (613) 957-5535 Barrett, Allison; Correspondence Analyst; (613) 957-5594
Bunner, Paul; Manager, Speechwriting; (613) 957-5534 McDonald, Meredith; Senior Special Assistant; (613) 957-5501
So, yeah – as previously reported here, there and everywhere, Ray Novak is now the Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary, and is – I believe – the first to hold that job under the current PM, which apparently also puts him in charge of correspondence and speechwriting, which I would have thought would fit more neatly under Communication. Clearly I’m just a naif when it comes to the shipbuilding of state, because before it landed in Novak’s lap, Bunner operated out of Patrick Muttart’s office, where he sported the somewhat baffling title of “Manager of the Prime Minister’s Communications.” Also, doesn’t “correspondence analysis” sound like kind of a fun job? Do you make outrage graphs, conduct handwriting analysis to identify possible supporters and that kind of thing?
Right, Novak. Important, although I’m betting his day-to-day existence hasn’t changed that much, since as far as I can tell, he’s been doing this job for months, albeit unofficially. Still, he has an Office with a Capital O now. One cannot underestimate the power of capitalization.
Priorities, Planning and Research
As noted earlier, this is where Mark Cameron has ended up, along with two of his staffers from Policy and Research. Interestingly, back in the P&R days, Aron Seal was listed as a finance policy advisor, but now he’s just a plain old advisor-of-all-trades. My guess is that this isn’t the final roster — really, one advisor doesn’t seem sufficient for priorities, planning and research — I mean, at the very least, shouldn’t they have a designated researcher? It will be interesting to check back in a few weeks to see how it has grown.
So I’m going through the list of names, checking them off against my as-it-turns-out-remarkably-handy archived version of the directory, and it’s beginning to look like other than the name and various titles, nothing has changed within the borders of Greater Muttartia. But then I spot Jeff Graham, and think – wait, I know that name from somewhere — but where?
Turns out he’s a born and bred Queen’s Park Tory — did ministerial office duty during the Harris days, was an organizer for Jim Flaherty’s leadership campaign. More recently, he worked as a consultant at Fasken Martineau – Guy Giorno’s old law firm – and during the early days of speculation, he was rumoured to be in line for a job in the Giornified Chief of Staff’s Office. So how did he end up in Muttart’s office, as a communications strategist no less? (That’s not a rhetorical question, by the way – if anyone knows, please share with the class.)
What else? We’ve covered the influx of former deputy communications directors and the addition of Lynette Corbett as director of strategy. Bob Klager is now director of strategic initiatives – which, I’m sorry, wins the award for most meaningless title I’ve seen so far today, and should qualify him for an honourary spot over at the Office of Stuff and Things – Rebecca Thompson is now manager of strategy – which runs a close second – and Gemma Collins is now working for Ray Novak. Other than that, the empire remains largely as it was before world turned upside down.