|Co-Deputy Chief of Staff, Prime Minister's Office|
|Prime Minister||Stephen Harper|
|Preceded by||Ray Novak|
|Director of Political Operations, Conservative Party of Canada|
2009 – August 2013
|Prime Minister||Stephen Harper|
|Preceded by||Doug Finley|
|Succeeded by||Fred DeLorey|
|Political party||Conservative Party of Canada|
Jenni Byrne is a political advisor for the Conservative Party of Canada and Prime Minister Stephen Harper. She has been called "the most powerful woman in Ottawa" and "the other woman" behind Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Byrne became involved in politics at age 16, when she joined the Reform Party. Byrne eventually became the President of the student Reform Party Club at the University of Ottawa. In a media interview, Byrne cited her concerns over debt reduction and tax cuts and how they were more important to her generation than to her parents' generation: “It’s great for them to say don’t cut here or there, but they won’t be the ones affected by (the debt). They’re in their late 40s and they will probably still benefit from government programs. But Canada looks like a bleak place for me by the time I’m their age.”
Bryne has been called Prime Minister Harper's "single best political organizer," a life-long Harper advisor who believed in the party during its darkest days. She is also known for her tenacity and possesses "a single-minded unwillingness to put up with people screwing around."
Byrne was the deputy national campaign manager in the 2006, 2008, and 2011 federal elections, serving under Doug Finley. Between elections, Byrne served in several roles in the Prime Minister's Office, including advisor to Chief of Staff Ian Brodie and Director of Issues Management, and at the headquarters of the Conservative Party of Canada.
In the 2011 campaign she was promoted to national campaign manager due to the ill health of the Doug Finley. Byrne's responsibilities were overseeing the day-to-day operations of what The Hill Times called "one the most efficient, richest, and iron-disciplined campaign machines in Canadian political history."
In the aftermath of the Canadian federal election, 2011, it was alleged that fraudulent phone calls had deliberately misled voters as a form of vote suppression in Guelph and other ridings. When campaign worker Andrew Prescott was to be interviewed by Elections Canada, Byrne advised him to wait for legal advice before speaking to them. Michael Sona was eventually charged and convicted of electoral fraud.
Return to Prime Minister's Office
In August 2013, Byrne left her job as the Conservative Director of Political Operations and returned to the Prime Minister's Office as co-Deputy Chief of Staff.
Campaign manager for 2015 election
- Taber, Jane (4 February 2011), Young Harper aide shatters glass ceiling to run election campaign, The Globe and Mail, retrieved 31 May 2012
- Wherry, Aaron (4 April 2011). "Jenni Byrne: the (other) woman behind Harper". Maclean's. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
- (subscription required) Naumetz, Tim (2 March 2011), Prime Minister Harper’s new campaign manager Byrne ‘respected and feared’ among federal Tories, The Hill Times, retrieved 31 May 2012
- Maher, Stephen and Glen McGregor (14 November 2013). "Harper adviser delayed robocall witness interview for legal advice, email shows". Canada.com.
- CBC News (14 August 2014). "Michael Sona guilty in robocalls trial - but 'did not likely act alone'". CBC News.
- R. v. Sona, 2014 ONCJ 365 (Justice G.F. Hearn), online at: http://canlii.ca/t/g8m0r