Who is Ray Novak? A look at Stephen Harper's new chief of staff
Stephen Harper's Executive Assistant Ray Novak is pictured Sept. 11, 2008, in Montreal, on the Harper campaign. (Tom Hanson / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Sunday, May 19, 2013 2:11PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, May 19, 2013 5:34PM EDT
Ray Novak, 35, has been named the new chief of staff following Nigel Wright’s resignation on Sunday. The once fresh-face political science grad is considered a long-time confidant of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and is highly regarded by his cadre of political advisors. The details:
Born: May 30, 1977
- Honours degree in political science from the University of Western Ontario
- Master’s degree in political science from the University of Calgary
- Novak ran for student council president while attending the University of Western Ontario. As a fourth-year political science student, he ran a campaign focused on accountability but lost the race despite an endorsement from the university’s student newspaper. "While some would contest that Novak may not have the physical presence a president should have, he has nonetheless shown a passion for student politics in the past, with a storied history of participation in the democratic process," reads an article from the Gazette.
- He was the University of Western Ontario’s president for the Reform Party of Canada, which later became the Canadian Alliance and morphed into the Conservative Party in 2003.
- According to a tweet by Michele Austin, a senior advisor at Summa Strategies, Novak was one of the first Reform Party policy interns, he studied with former Harper advisor Tom Flanagan, and "he admires the monarchy greatly."
- He was also an intern for then-Reform MP Rob Anders
- He was a finalist in Magna’s "If I Were Prime Minister" essay contest in 2000. In his essay, Novak said his vision of Canada included a government with less control over health care. "Every person would have a portion of their taxes put into a savings account," Novak told The Gauntlet, a student newspaper at the University of Calgary. Canadian citizens would then be able to pay for their own health care, with the government footing the bill for "catastrophes" such as heart attacks, he said. Novak was awarded $10,000 for his essay.
- He was employed as a researcher for the right-leaning group National Citizens Coalition when it was led by Harper.
- He is the longest-serving aide to Harper. Novak became Harper's executive assistant in 2001 after Harper returned to federal politics to lead the Canadian Alliance party.
- Prior to being catapulted into the position of chief of staff, Novak was the principal secretary in the PMP, a post he’s held since 2008.
- Known as a staunch monarchist, Novak along with Kevin MacLeod, the former Usher of the Black Rod, was involved in the search for a new governor general in 2010. "Only a few people in the government care about it, but they care about it fiercely," a source told The Canadian Press.
- Famously lived in a small one-bedroom loft above the garage at Stornoway when Harper was the Opposition Leader
With a report from CTV’s chief political correspondence Craig Oliver and files from The Canadian Press