The Prime Minister's Office has poached the long-time chief of the Parliamentary Press Gallery to run media logistics for the new Liberal government.
Terry Guillon, the de facto administrative head of the gallery who worked as a liaison between Parliament Hill and journalists for 37 years, told The Globe and Mail he will join Justin Trudeau's office after he leaves his current post on Feb. 19.
"I've been thinking for quite a while about leaving the gallery and having somebody else take over and put a new generation in here," Mr. Guillon said.
Mr. Guillon, 55, is a fixture on Parliament Hill, spotted at nearly every major press conference and scrum. He plays a role in organizing national events, such as royal visits, and travels internationally with the government of the day. He also helps the press-gallery board with memberships and decision-making, and has sat in on sensitive meetings about issues arising in the gallery.
In his new role, Mr. Guillon will lead a team running media logistics for the government – but this time, he'll work directly for Mr. Trudeau.
"It's a challenge, I have to admit, but I'm looking forward to it. Very much," Mr. Guillon said.
Mr. Guillon, who recently accompanied the Liberals on three foreign trips, wouldn't go into detail about whether Mr. Trudeau personally asked him to join his team.
He is a public servant and not a journalist nor a member of the press gallery.
Mr. Guillon arrived in the press gallery 37 years ago as a "lowly clerk." In that time, he's witnessed the evolution of both Parliament and the media – he remembers when television was installed in the House of Commons (although not, as yet, the Senate).
"We were basically putting press releases in the pigeonholes in those days. We didn't have the Internet. It was completely different. It was very much just receiving press releases, distributing, doing deliveries. Working late at night because the House sat late every night," he said.
"It was a complete, complete different atmosphere.… Things have changed over the years, of course, and thank God they have."
One of his most memorable experiences was seeing George Bush – senior – in the National Press Theatre. He also feels "very lucky" to have accompanied former governor-general Michaëlle Jean to Haiti following the 2010 earthquake.
In a statement, the president of the press gallery, Le Devoir reporter Manon Cornellier, thanked Mr. Guillon for his "utmost professionalism."
"We owe you so much and there is no word to say how sad we are to see you go," she wrote.
For his part, Mr. Guillon said he is glad to be sticking around Parliament Hill.
"I love this business and I definitely want to stay in it, and we'll see for how long. And I'm so glad that I have this opportunity to basically move on to something that's related to what I do now and on a bigger scale," he said.
"It's working with the same people – that was a huge thing for me."