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Peter Donolo works the phone in his Parliament Hill office in this undated file photo.

Mike Pinder

What you should know about Michael Ignatieff's new chief of staff.

1. He has copies of Life magazine dating back to the 1940s.

2. He loves American politics and politicians: FDR and JFK.

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3. He turned 50 this month. Is taking on the Opposition Leader's Office his mid-life crisis?

4. He was one of three young Liberals, including Alf Apps, now the party president, who recruited Paul Martin to speak at the 1982 policy convention. Mr. Apps thought the speech went well. Mr. Donolo thought Mr. Martin flopped. Later, Paul Martin got into politics. That did not end well.

5. He lives in Toronto, with his wife, Mary Cruden, and their three children. He has been a principal with Strategic Counsel, a national polling firm that does work for The Globe and Mail and CTV. Before that he was briefly with Air Canada and before that he was Canada's counsul general in Milan, an appointment from Jean Chrétien.

6. He was Mr. Chrétien's director of communications from 1991 to 1999, working both in opposition and government.

7. He drives a very hot-looking convertible - a Ford Thunderbird.

8. He has not been afraid to criticize the Ignatieff team. Last month, he said the episode involving the fight over the Montreal riding of Outremont that saw Mr. Ignatieff's Quebec lieutenant resign left the impression that the Liberal Leader couldn't control his ranks and that he "makes a decision and can't stick with it."

9. He is bilingual having grown up in Montreal. He is a private school boy who attended Lower Canada College. His father was in the construction business with a firm built the National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa.

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10. He's quirky, funny and personable. He hates to exercise. So does Mr. Ignatieff.

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About the Author
Ontario politics reporter

Jane Taber is a reporter at Queen’s Park. After spending three years reporting from the Atlantic, she has returned to Ontario and back to writing about her passion, politics. She spent 25 years covering Parliament Hill for the Ottawa Citizen, the National Post and the Globe and Mail. More

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