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Defeated Liberal cabinet minister Hélène Scherrer will become Prime Minister Paul Martin's principal secretary starting Oct. 1.

The appointment was among several announced by Mr. Martin's office yesterday in a move that gives francophones a greater presence among his senior staff.

Marc Roy, another francophone, was named associate communications director to assist Scott Reid, a long-time Martin staffer.

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Mr. Roy was a communications adviser to the government House leader in the last Parliament.

Even though Mr. Martin himself represents a Montreal riding, some Quebec Liberals have said the Prime Minister's Office needed more political operatives from the province after the party's dismal performance in Quebec ridings in the recent election.

Ms. Scherrer will replace Francis Fox, who was a cabinet minister in the Trudeau government and was brought back to Ottawa and named principal secretary when Mr. Martin became Prime Minister last December. Mr. Fox is returning to Montreal this fall for family reasons.

Ms. Scherrer was heritage minister in Mr. Martin's first cabinet. But she was defeated in her Quebec City riding in the June election.

She will be placed on the federal payroll Sept. 7 as a PMO staffer, but doesn't formally become principal secretary for three weeks after that.

Karl Littler, who was a Liberal campaign strategist in Ontario, was named deputy chief of staff to Mr. Martin for cabinet affairs.

Peter Nicholson, a special adviser in the PMO, is being given new responsibilities for "policy operations," the release said.

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Karen Martin, who worked in the Finance Department when Mr. Martin was the minister, was confirmed as appointments secretary, a function she has already been performing.

Jacline Lanthier becomes PMO tour director, replacing Mario Cuconato, who is returning to the private sector.

There are a number of other senior government appointments pending, including two seats on the Supreme Court, executive positions at Canada Post and the Business Development Bank of Canada, and Senate vacancies.

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