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The Globe and Mail

Harper names new communications chief amid F-35 storm

Andrew MacDougall leaves the National Press Theatre in Ottawa on Aug. 30, 2011. The 36-year-old is Prime Minister Stephen Harper's seventh director of communications.

Sean Kilpatrick/Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

The Prime Minister's Office has quickly replaced its director of communications, promoting spokesman Andrew MacDougall.

The 36-year-old aide was named Wednesday morning to replace Angelo Persichilli, who resigned last week after just seven months on the job.

Mr. MacDougall will be Stephen Harper's eighth director of communications and his seventh since becoming Prime Minister in 2006.

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The affable Mr. MacDougall is bilingual, unlike his predecessor.

He has worked on Parliament Hill since 2006, moving up through the ranks as he gained respect among his colleagues and the media alike.

Most recently, under Mr. Persichilli, he was associate director of communications and Mr. Harper's spokesman – the most visible member of the Prime Minister's large and powerful communications team.

Mr. MacDougall will be put to the test immediately. Mr. Harper and his cabinet are under intense scrutiny after the Auditor-General found that Parliament was kept in the dark about the true cost of the F-35 fighter jet program.

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