New PM’s inner circle

Much has been written and is known about Prime Minister-elect Justin Trudeau. But what is there to be known about Trudeau’s confidants? Who are the people in his corner who have his ear?

Here are important things to know about Gerald Butts, Katie Telford, and Cyrus Reporter – three people the Prime Minister will lean on, perhaps the three most important advisors in Ottawa now.


Gerald Butts, 44

  • Principal adviser in the federal opposition leader’s office
  • closest election campaign adviser, travelling with JT tour
  • Trudeau’s BFF – a member of Trudeau’s wedding party and helped write the eulogy for his late father, Pierre
  • Confidant extraordinaire – each day, each campaign event, Butts briefed Trudeau beforehand, pumping him up before going on stage, calming him down when he was upset, encouraging him when the campaign seemed to be floundering
  • son of a Cape Breton coal miner, grew up in Glace Bay, the youngest of 5 children
  • met Trudeau at McGill University
  • 1999 went to Toronto – worked with George Smitherman
  • with Butts’ influence, the Ontario Liberals won elections in 2003 and in 2007
  • was principal secretary to Dalton McGuinty when he assumed the premier’s office
  • helped implement a green energy strategy that would phase out coal and sell a tax his leader had promised never to implement
  • quit the Ontario Liberal party before the 2011 election — prior to the gas-plant scandal
  • went to work leading the World Wildlife Federation of Canada
  • in October 2012, Butts left WWF to join Trudeau’s leadership bid
  • advised on such decisions re legalizing of marijuana, expulsion of the entire Liberal Senate caucus, and Trudeau’s position on the Northern Gateway pipeline
  • an extrovert – an outspoken, pugnacious attack dog
  • married to a lawyer and has two children


Katie Telford, 38

  • advisor in the federal opposition leader’s office
  • Liberal party’s national campaign director and chair
  • Toronto-raised daughter of public servants
  • good reputation as a backroom strategist
  • credited with rebuilding Party and designing campaign’s ground game
  • good friends with Gerald Butts for 25 years, having worked together at Queen’s Park
  • n September 2001, Telford went to Queen’s Park as a staffer to MPP Gerard Kennedy, when the Ontario Liberals were still in opposition
  • set out with Kennedy to implement the premier’s ambitious agenda in education
  • also was Stéphane Dion’s one-time deputy chief of staff


Cyrus Reporter, 40-something

  • since April 2013 served as Chief of Staff to Trudeau
  • Ottawa lawyer
  • an active participant in backroom politics and the Liberal Party of Canada
  • roles in general elections of 1993, 1997, 2000 and 2006
  • a member of Paul Martin’s election campaign “war room” in 2006
  • held various senior positions from 1994 to 2003 as Chief of Staff for Alan Rock through three portfolios – Industry, Justice and Health
  • stepped out of politics and into legal boardrooms 2003 – 2013
  • served as lobbyist for BP Canada, Syncrude Canada and Nexen (now CNOOC), all companies responsible for the expansion of the tar sands



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