CBC News has confirmed that Guy Giorno, chief of staff to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, is leaving his position at the end of the year.

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Guy Giorno, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's chief of staff, prepares to appear as a witness at the Commons access-ethics committee in Ottawa in April. CBC News has confirmed Giorno will step down from his position at the end of the year. ((Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press))

Rumours have been swirling for months over the departure date of Giorno, a former chief of staff to former Ontario premier Mike Harris. Giorno took over as Harper's senior adviser in 2008.

In an email to CBC News on Friday, Dimitri Soudas, Harper's director of communication, would not confirm Giorno's planned exit, but said "next year is an eternity away in the world of politics."

Soudas's email also included a swipe at Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, saying he "refuses to rule out forcing an unnecessary fall election."

The confirmation of Giorno's departure comes after a tough summer for Harper's Conservative government, which has faced mounting criticism over costs of Canada's dual hosting of the G8 and G20 summits in June, as well as its decision to scrap the mandatory long-form census and the federal long-gun registry.

Results of a poll released this week by research firm EKOS suggest Ignatieff's party has pulled into an end-of-summer dead heat with Harper's Conservatives, who held a comfortable 11-point lead over the Liberals at the beginning of the summer.