Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Clark Hires Former McGuinty Aide as New Communications Director

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Clark Hires Former McGuinty Aide as New Communications Director

Article excerpt

More staff changes in B.C. premier's office

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VICTORIA - B.C. Premier Christy Clark has hired a former top aide to Ontario's premier as her new communications director in a third attempt to put in place a winning communications team in time for next May's provincial election.

Ben Chin becomes the latest appointee in the revolving door of staff changes in Clark's office that has seen at least three communications makeovers since she took over as premier in February 2011.

Clark's first press secretary, former radio and television reporter Chris Olsen didn't last a year, and in recent months Clark's office has seen the arrival and departure of Prime Minister Stephen Harper loyalists, Ken Boessenkool and Sara MacIntyre.

Former Premier Gordon Campbell stalwart Mike Morton, who served as Campbell's press secretary for much of his first two terms, joined Clark's office last summer to help with press secretary service.

Clark's Liberals have been consistently trailing the Opposition New Democrats in public opinion polls, but her focus on her government's job creation agenda has seen the Liberals start to regain some lost ground.

Chin, who served as Dalton McGuinty's media relations chief, is well-known across Canada as a journalist with the CBC, CTV and City TV. Chin currently lives in Vernon, B.C., and was most recently working as a vice-president and advisor to Air Miles for Social Change.

Chin's hiring comes during a government-wide hiring freeze, but officials said the position was a replacement, not a new job. The replacement does not increase staff numbers in the premier's office, say Liberal officials.

NDP caucus chairman Shane Simpson said it appears Clark's office operates under a less rigid financial standard than the rest of government, which is under a hiring freeze to help fight dropping revenues and a rising budget deficit. …

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