Strange bedfellows? Stephen Harper chooses Toronto Star columnist Angelo Persichilli as his new PR chief

Strange bedfellows? Stephen Harper chooses Toronto Star columnist Angelo Persichilli as his new PR chief

Angelo Persichilli (Image: Jason Ransom/PMO) 

Ottawa has been abuzz this week with rumours surrounding who will replace Dimitri Soudas as Stephen Harper’s director of communications. Well, it turns out Soudas’s official replacement comes from the stranger-than-fiction category—the new whipping boy for frustrated reporters on Parliament Hill is none other than a Toronto Star columnist, one Angelo Persichilli.

Naturally, the Toronto Star has the story:

Persichilli was political editor for the Italian-language newspaper Corriere Canadese for years, and his Star columns were reprinted in the Hill Times, a parliamentary news outlet with prominent circulation among political decision-makers in the nation’s capital.

He recently told a Star reporter said he’d given up his Corriere Canadese column and was ready to move on to other things, though he had not decided what the next role would be.

So, after scouring the country for the one and only person who could fill the vacancy in his office, Harper picked a columnist for the one newspaper that endorsed the NDP in the last federal election? Guess he did. Now, Persichilli may have been a columnist for the Red Star, but nobody would say he was slavishly red himself. He spent much of 2010 slamming Michael Ignatieff (granted, he wasn’t alone on that front), and he may be more comfortable in the Conservative ranks than we might otherwise think. Still, nobody would’ve predicted this before yesterday afternoon.

Star columnist Angelo Persichilli to join PMO [Toronto Star]
Toronto Star columnist joins Harper PMO [Toronto Sun]
Journalist Angelo Persichilli replaces Dimitri Soudas at PMO [Globe and Mail]
Angelo Persichilli named PMO director of communications [Maclean’s]
PM’s office names new communications head [CBC]