Inside Politics

The return of Alykhan Velshi

Former Jason Kenney staffer Alykhan Velshi is returning to Parliament Hill -- this time as director of planning for the Prime Minister's Office, CBC News has learned.

Velshi was most recently executive director of EthicalOil.org, an organization set up to promote writer Ezra Levant's take on Canada's oilsands. While in that job, Velshi infamously debated actress Daryl Hannah over extending TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline through the U.S.

Making the transition to the private sector can be difficult for political aides, especially after having the chance to influence public policy.

Velshi worked for several years for Kenney, including during Kenney's time as minister of citizenship and immigration, and worked for now-Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird when Baird was environment minister. He also worked for the Conservative Party during elections and was one of the main spokesmen during the 2011 election campaign.

The director of planning position was once held by Patrick Muttart, who was a major strategic player in the Conservative party's first election victory under Stephen Harper.

He's expected to start work in December.

Reached by CBC, Velshi declined to comment.
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