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Thomas Mulcair takes questions from reporters during his first news conference as NDP Leader in Toronto on March 25, 2012. (Chris Young/Chris Young/The Canadian Press)
Thomas Mulcair takes questions from reporters during his first news conference as NDP Leader in Toronto on March 25, 2012. (Chris Young/Chris Young/The Canadian Press)

Communications director joins NDP exodus under Mulcair Add to ...

More New Democrat officials who had been close to former leader Jack Layton and failed leadership candidate Brian Topp are leaving the party in the wake of Thomas Mulcair’s arrival at the helm.

Drew Anderson, the NDP director of communications, told staff Monday morning that he is leaving, a source said.

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In addition, the party’s former top Quebec adviser, Raymond Guardia, is on the way out, sources said. Mr. Guardia ran the campaign of Mr. Topp, one of his best friends.

However, Mr. Guardia’s decision to join the Topp campaign last fall came as a stinging surprise to Mr. Mulcair, given the pair had worked closely in recent years, starting with Mr. Mulcair’s 2007 by-election victory in Outremont.

Mr. Guardia told NDP staffers he would be out of reach after the convention, and seemed “resigned” to leaving the party on Saturday, a party official said.

Mr. Guardia was told by Mr. Mulcair last September that he wouldn’t be welcomed back if Mr. Mulcair won the leadership, according to La Presse columnist Vincent Marissal.

On Sunday, Brad Lavigne announced his departure as the NDP’s national director. While he was officially neutral in the race given his position, Mr. Lavigne was seen as a supporter of Mr. Topp, having contributed $1,000 to his campaign.

Still, Mr. Mulcair has promised a smooth transition and vowed to his caucus that “98 per cent” of party staffers would remain familiar faces. He has also promised to reintegrate all leadership candidates into his shadow cabinet, while keeping Libby Davies, a key Topp supporter, as deputy leader.

Given that Mr. Topp does not have a seat in the House, Mr. Mulcair does not have to make room for him on the party’s front benches.

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