John Manley says he wasn't a player in the Donolo move

Among some versions swirling around Parliament Hill of how Peter Donolo was recruited as Michael Ignatieff’s new chief of staff, John Manley’s name figures prominently.

But Manley categorically denies reports that Ignatieff asked for his advice, or that he offered it. And he says he is mystified by a related rumour that he circulated word that Donolo was returning to Ottawa.

I have not spoken to Manley directly on this (he’s not in Ottawa today). But through staff at the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, he told me he has not talked to Ignatieff since August, when he briefed him on the situation in Afghanistan. Manley said he was not in the loop in any way on the Liberal leader’s deliberations about shaking up his staff.

In fact, Manley, who held a series of senior cabinet positions in Jean Chretien’s government, has generally been keeping his distance from Liberal party matters since June, when he was appointed as the next president of the CCCE. His term there begins officially on Jan. 1, 2010, but he’s already moved into an office at the umbrella group for Canada’s top corporations.