03.30.2012 11:47 AM


Angelo Persichilli is my big brother, as I wrote once before, and I’m a bit biased, but I would suggest that the Harper government’s relationship with the national press gallery markedly improved during his brief tenure as Director of Communications at PMO. Unlike all of his predecessors, Angelo’s life had been devoted to journalism, not the Conservative Party. He understood the job his former colleagues had to do, and he didn’t bitch or whine when they did it.

We spoke every week, sometimes more than that. Not once did he ever reveal a secret.  Not once did he complain about the news media. And not once did he object to anything I’ve written about his bosses’ party – even though I have come to thoroughly detest it, as the Robocon scandal has unfolded.

As noted in this story by Stephen Maher – the guy who has made actual election fraud an issue in Canada, for the first time our history, by unveiling Robocon – the staff work load at PMO is extraordinary. It’s bigger and tougher than anyone could ever imagine. Angelo remarked to me often that it’s a younger man’s (or woman’s) game, and it is. When he took the job, I told him he was crazy – not because it wouldn’t be fun or educational, but because it is potentially lethal for one’s family and one’s health.

In our last phone call, I told him he had done a very good job.  As usual, he demurred.  “Name one story that’s been done, since you’ve arrived, talking about the bad relations between Harper and the media,” I said.  “You’ve made it a more professional relationship.”

And, in a democracy, that’s all you can ask for, I think: a professional relationship between the watchers and the watched.

Angelo Persichilli is a good man, and I hope all the partisans will permit me to say this to my big brother: welcome home.


  1. David Imrie says:

    Choose better friends!

  2. Michael S says:

    Oh man, the Robocall scandal is not a job for someone with a shred of dignity.

  3. ernest lustig says:

    Dont agree with you on this one, he BETRAYED and Used us, to put it mildly. Harper uses them and spits them out

    • Ted B says:

      Betrayed who and how? What obligation did he owe you?

      As for the second sentence, I agree but that’s hardly damning of a leader. FDR, perhaps one of the greatest presidents in US history, was reknown for burning through cabinet and staffers. He would pick who he thought was the right person for the job and get rid of them when he needed someone else, even close friends and family. That’s putting the nation above personal loyalty which is sorely lacking. Harper by contrast, if the senate and many of his key appointments is any indication, is not at all about putting the nation above personal loyalty.

  4. Marc says:

    “And, in a democracy, that’s all you can ask for, I think: a professional relationship between the watchers and the watched.”

    I disagree. Just because someone politely tells you it’s none of your business – when it is – doesn’t mean we’re actually any better off. Did relations actually get better or did the press just stop complaining because it did no good?

  5. smelter rat says:

    All that spinning would make anyone dizzy.

  6. reformatory says:

    Agreed.. the man sucked up to the PMO and practically gave Harper a free pass in the press. He used his journalism duties in the star to prop up his own job prospects, and instead of being critical of the PM and his cronies, he virtually helped them get their majority.

    That is not something to be proud of. He may be a decent journalist, he may be a decent man, but he did not do a decent thing.

    • Michael S says:

      As Mulroney said: “There is no whore like an old whore.” And there is nobody more sincere than a whore. Angelo did good.

  7. Cameron Prymak says:

    David Gergen was an advisor to multiple presidents, Republican and Democrat, seems like there’s a decent precedent there. To me anyway, if you’re good, you’re good. People recognize that ability and in politics it’s about building alliances and leverage where possible.

    But I still can’t shake the thought that the position of Director of Communications for Mr. Harper is a little like being a drummer for Spinal Tap.

  8. Stephen says:

    I am not a fan of Stephen Harper, but he is the Prime Minister of Canada and I hope he does a good job.

    These comments represent one of the reasons why it is getting harder to get talented people to take political jobs. Just because you disagree with the government, it doesn’t make the people who work for that government evil, or soulless, or heartless, or unpatriotic. Angelo is a good guy — friendly, open, and in a very tough job.

    We want to disagree with people, yes, but would it kill us to do so respectfully? I want people like Angelo working with the Conservatives because that why I know there will be professionals. The danger is that these roles become, once again, the domain of the rabidly political, the kind who say you’re defending child pornographers if you think the crime bill overreaches and who say you’re in league with the Taliban if you question their intrusive habits.

    In other words, let’s all be moderates again — it’s who we are.

    • Bil Huk says:

      thank you. there’s a big race on in canada to see who can have the most partisan opinions.

      of course, when its pointed out how bad that is becoming to the overal quality of politics these days, it’s just another opportunity for the partisan to claim that its the other side’s fault.

      everyone with me now: take one giant step away from the edges. and shame on all of you who said “you first”.

    • Elisabeth Lindsay says:

      Oh my gosh Stephen – Thankyou so very much for your comments. So true. Made me verklempt!

  9. Cam says:

    I don’t know you or this Angelo fellow. That being said, respect and integrity carry a lot with me. When I actually sit down with someone from the other side I usually find a reasonable, considerate and personable individual. Nicely said.

  10. blueworld says:

    Smells like the “Ides of March”. Somebody must have had something on him. OUCH….
    Time to pull out the old “Not up to the job” excuse. This way he leaves untainted.. better than a full out scandal I suppose.

  11. Jan says:

    I love that, just a day after Harper decrees people should work past 65, a 63 year old in his employ bails because he finds it too tiring.

  12. Gtoronto says:

    Having been a “fan” of Angelo’s writing for years, but I found it odd that he went to work with this particular PM.
    I don’t think he took the job for ideological reasons, probably a sense of duty or the prestige and the moullah wasn’t bad either. I can understand it being a young man’s job, but Angelo’s very capable and intelligent.
    Lord knows what horrors he’s seen and what horrifying screams he heard from behind the PM’s office, and Lord knows what we’re all going to see and hear in the future.

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