Gerald Butts: If thy right hand offend thee, pluck it out

At any other time it’d be interesting to entertain a few notions of comparative PMO staffing.

Brian Mulroney and Stephen Harper shook up their senior staff regularly: Mulroney’s principal secretaries included Peter White, Tom Trbovich, Michel Roy and Hugh Segal; Harper made more frequent changes to his chiefs of staff but when Ray Novak moved up to that role, Harper had no trouble replacing him as principal secretary. Jean Chrétien did without anyone in the role altogether. Paul Martin resuscitated the role but he didn’t know the people in it—Francis Fox, Hélène Scherrer—as well as he knew much of his entourage. This isn’t a science. As a very strong rule of thumb, irreplaceable lieutenants are usually replaceable.

But this isn’t any other time.