Thursday, June 09, 2005

Jun 9, 2005 Senior CPC Staffers Bail Out

CNEWS REPORTS

June 9, 2005
Senior staffers bail out
By MARIA McCLINTOCK, Parliamentary Bureau

A pair of senior communications staffers in Conservative Leader Stephen Harper's office have jumped ship and insiders tell Sun Media more may follow as internal trouble simmering for weeks becomes public.

Insiders told Sun Media a group of Tory senators visited Harper in the days before the May 19 confidence vote and urged him to bring in a "pro" to oversee the transition should they succeed in toppling Martin and forming government.

Nothing ever happened as a result.

That meeting, confirmed by several insiders, appeared to be the turning point for staffers.

ON HIT LIST

Sources said Harper's chief of staff Phil Murphy is on the hit list, in favour of Doug Finley who was recently brought in as the deputy chief of staff.

Director of communications Geoff Norquay yesterday denied rumours he's about to go as well.

Last week the party's veteran communications man Jim Armour, with longtime ties to the Reform and Canadian Alliance parties, announced he was leaving to take a job with the Canadian Medical Association.

Days later communications staffer Mike Storshaw announced he's leaving to take a job with Ottawa lobby firm Bluesky Strategy Group. Both Armour and Storshaw deny they were pushed out of the inner circle.

Party insiders said Storshaw was told about two weeks ago he was no longer welcome at daily communications meetings with Harper, although he continues to perform those duties until he leaves for his new job.

maria.mcclintock@tor.sunpub.com