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Staff exits for PMO and ministers O’Regan, Wilkinson, and Fortier

By Laura Ryckewaert      

Jocelyn Lubczuk has joined Associate Finance Minister Mona Fortier’s office as director of communications and operations, as Blue Knox moves over to International Trade Minister Mary Ng’s team.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Natural Resources Minister Seamus O'Regan, Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, and Associate Finance Minister Mona Fortier have all had recent staff exits, among other moves. The Hill Times photographs by Andrew Meade
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Like sand through the hour glass, so go staff movements on Parliament Hill, and there are a few recent political staff departures to note, including in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office. 

Catherine Robitaille exited her job as a communications assistant in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) last month. She’d been in the role for the last six months, months, having first joined the office on June 8.

Cameron Ahmad continues as director of communications in Mr. Trudeau’s office, a post he’s filled for the last two years. He oversees a 17-member team that includes: deputy directors Vanessa Hage-Mousse and Chantal Gagnon; press secretaries Ann-Clara Vaillancourt and Alex Wellstead; Johanna Robinson, senior manager of digital and creative communications; Riley Lange, co-ordinator of digital and creative content; communications planners Andrew MacKendrick, and Vincent Hughes (Emily Trogen is currently on maternity leave); Astrid Krizus, lead speechwriter; speechwriters Alexandre Gravel and Dexter Nyuurnibe; writers Valérie Glazer and Parker Lund; photographers Adam Scotti and Alex Tetreault; and executive assistant Shehzad Sewani.

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Katie Telford is chief of staff to Mr. Trudeau. 

Over in Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan’s office, special assistant Evelyn Naghibzadeh marked her exit in mid-December. 

She had joined the minister’s office last fall, fresh from leave, before which she’d been a special assistant to then-Liberal deputy whip Linda Lapointe (who now works as a caucus liaison in the PMO). 

Paul Moen is chief of staff to Mr. O’Regan. 

Lubczuk joins Fortier’s office, as Knox moves to trade team 

Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson recently bid farewell to senior communications adviser Jocelyn Lubczuk, who announced her new job as director of communications and operations to Associate Finance Minister Mona Fortier on Jan. 11.

Jocelyn Lubczuk is now director of operations and communications to the associate finance minister. Photograph courtesy of LinkedIn

Ms. Lubczuk started out as press secretary to Mr. Wilkinson in his capacity as then-minister of fisheries and oceans in September 2018. After he was shuffled into the environment portfolio in December 2019, she followed, taking on the title of senior communications adviser. 

In her post announcing her move, Ms. Lubczuk wrote that after “two action packed years” working for Mr. Wilkinson, she was “so proud of all that we have accomplished together.” 

“That includes moving forward on a single use plastics ban, announcing Canada’s Strengthened Climate Plan and tabling historic legislation (C-12) that will ensure all future governments continue down a pathway to net-zero by 2050,” she wrote. “I am looking forward to bringing this perspective and experience to my new role at Finance Canada. Because, the environment and the economy go hand in hand.” 

Before joining Mr. Wilkinson’s fisheries office, Ms. Lubczuk had spent just under three years working as a special assistant for social media and communications to then-environment minister Catherine McKenna, starting in February 2016. She’s also a former communications officer for Sustainable Prosperity and for the University of Ottawa’s Institute of the Environment. During the 2019 election, she served as a regional video content producer for the Liberal Party in Vancouver. 

Ricky Landry is director of communications to Mr. Wilkinson and Moira Kelly is press secretary. 

In Ms. Fortier’s office, Ms. Lubczuk replaces Blue Knox, who has moved over to Small Business, Export Promotion, and International Trade Minister Mary Ng’s office to serve as director of communications as of Jan.18. 

Isabella Brisson is press secretary to Ms. Fortier, whose office is run by chief of staff Lucy Hargreaves. 

A former field organizer for the Liberal Party, Ms. Knox was originally hired as director of operations to Ms. Fortier shortly after she was named to cabinet in November 2019 and added on oversight of the minister’s communications team late last spring. 

Trade Minister Mary Ng, pictured on Nov. 3, 2020, has scooped up Blue Knox to serve as her new communications director. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

In Ms. Ng’s office, Ms. Knox replaces Eleanore Catenaro, who recently announced she was moving on from the Hill after seven years, as reported by Hill Climbers. 

Youmy Han is press secretary to Ms. Ng, while Jason Easton is chief of staff. 

The federal cabinet shuffle on Jan. 12 portends further staffing moves, with affected ministers given 30 calendar days to finalize their political staff rosters, as set out by Treasury Board Secretariat rules. 

The shuffle saw Liberal MP Navdeep Bains, who recently announced he would not seek re-election, replaced as innovation minister by François-Philippe Champagne. Mr. Champagne was replaced as foreign affairs minister by Marc Garneau, who in turn was replaced as transport minister by now-former parliamentary secretary Omar Alghabra.  

As of filing, no staffing decisions had yet been confirmed, with existing staff at that point still continuing in their roles. At the time of the shuffle, Ryan Dunn was chief of staff to the innovation minister, Daniel Lauzon was chief of staff to the foreign affairs minister, and Marc Roy was chief of staff to the transport minister.

Stay tuned to Hill Climbers for updates on how these offices shape up post shuffle.

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