When Stephen Harper appointed Toronto Star columnist and Corriere Canadese editor Angelo Persichilli as his new director of communications last week, many politicians, journalists, and regular joes and janes were surprised. As Jane Taber writes in The Globe and Mail, “Angelo Persichilli does not fit the Harper mould.” A round-up of the reaction.

When Stephen Harper appointed Toronto Star columnist and Corriere Canadese editor Angelo Persichilli as his new director of communications last week, many politicians, journalists, and regular joes and janes were surprised. As Jane Taber writes in The Globe and Mail, “Angelo Persichilli does not fit the Harper mould.” Persichilli may be the 11th person to serve as Harper’s senior communications aid, and the sixth to act as director of communications since Harper became PM, but he is the only journalist. “Many believe it signals a new direction in tone and tactics,” writes Taber, “Mr. Soudas’s blind loyalty to the Prime Minister caused friction between the PMO and national media.”

Perschilli’s appointment is causing friction too: between the PMO and Quebec.  Chantal Hebert, Peter Worthington, and Stephan Maher all write that the move signals the province’s waning national influence – and Quebec is livid. Take, for instance, the headline from Montreal Le Devoir that reads: Soudas' Successor Attacks Bilingualism and Whiners from Quebec. In case you haven’t read it, they’re talking about this column in the Toronto Star, which prompted Postmedia’s Maher to write: “Quebec journalists have greeted news of Persichilli's appointment the way Montrealers greet Bruins fans at the Bell Centre, and I can see why.”

But not everybody thinks the move is all about Quebec. “Persichilli’s appointment is significant, not for whom it snubs,” writes Paul Wells in Maclean’s, “But for what it represents: a significant reallocation of Conservative attention and energy toward another target, the great big ethnic stew pot of Persichilli’s Toronto stomping ground.” No matter what the move signifies, however, one thing is for sure: Persichilli’s time as director won’t be boring. Just recently a Quebec sovereignty activist lodged a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission because Persichilli can’t speak French.

[node:ad]