Since moving from Quebec City to work for the federal Health Minister last month, Thierry Bélair has been sleeping on the couch of one of his former colleagues in the National Assembly, Karl Sasseville.
Mr. Sasseville also benefited from a former colleague's hospitality when he started working in the office of the Minister of Innovation in March, crashing on Marie-Emmanuelle Cadieux's sofa.
Ms. Cadieux made the same journey in September of last year, when the aide to the Minister of International Co-operation relied on the kindness of Philip Proulx, another Quebec City ex-pat who works in the Prime Minister's Office. Mr. Proulx's own stay in Ottawa in February started with a stint on the couch of Alexandra Bernier, a member of the PMO's advance team.
In addition to a propensity for hosting and couch surfing, the five young professionals all decided to leave the provincial government of Philippe Couillard to work for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Like other Quebeckers who moved to Ottawa since the Liberal government was formed in late 2015, they were lured by more pay and relatively better job security, but also bigger challenges.
"As a French-Canadian federalist, I felt this was a great opportunity to play a positive role on the national stage and do my humble part to dismantle the myth of two solitudes," said Mr. Sasseville, the press secretary to Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains and a former aide to the ministers of economy and culture in Quebec.
Liberal officials predict the trend is far from over. For starters, the Quebec Liberals are lagging in recent polls with the next provincial election less than a year away.
The ministerial staffers who jump ship early might be the only ones with jobs by the end of next year, even though there is always a level of uncertainty in the world of politics.
Secondly, bilingual ministerial aides in Quebec City are a hot commodity in Ottawa, given they are used to dealing with the intense glare of the biggest provincial press gallery in the country.
Finally, the federal Liberals, leading in national polls, still need to beef up the representation of Quebeckers in their government. The party surprisingly won 40 out of 78 seats in 2015, and many Liberals think they can do even better in the province in the next election.
To achieve that goal, however, the Liberals need to strengthen their roots in Quebec. Staffers are used to working in the shadows, but a strong team around a minister can help to navigate through a political crisis or score points on key issues.
When the Liberals formed the government two years ago, Mr. Trudeau's close circle of advisers was dominated by Queen's Park veterans, including his two top advisers, Katie Telford and Gerald Butts. When it came time to fill key jobs in the PMO and various ministers' offices, a number of their past associates were among the first to receive top political postings.
There were few Quebeckers around Mr. Trudeau. One of his top advisers during the election, Liberal veteran and consultant Dan Gagnier, resigned days before the vote because he had sent a memo to one of his clients that included insider knowledge from the campaign.
In addition, Mr. Trudeau and his top advisers wanted to cut ties with Liberals from Quebec who had worked in the Chrétien and Martin governments between 1993 and 2006, when the party was hit by the sponsorship scandal.
The top Quebecker to enter the PMO in 2015, lawyer Mathieu Bouchard, was a relative newcomer to federal politics.
When hiring chiefs of staff for all ministers, Liberal sources said special efforts were made by Mr. Trudeau's top Quebec organizer, Claude Eric Gagné (another veteran of the National Assembly), to find qualified candidates from the province.
For example, the chiefs of staff at Health, Geneviève Hinse, and at Transport, Jean-Philippe Arseneau, both had experience in Quebec City before they joined the Trudeau government.
Two years later, the contingent of Quebec Liberals working in Ottawa has been steadily growing, as a few well-worn couches can attest.