Butts in November 2015
|Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister|
|Born||Gerald Michael Butts
July 8, 1971
Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada
|Spouse(s)||Jodi (Heimpel) Butts|
|Residence||Westboro, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada|
|Alma mater||York University
Gerald Michael Butts (born July 8, 1971) is the senior political adviser to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Since November 2015, he has been the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister. From 2008 to 2012, he was president and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund Canada, a global conservation organization. In 2014, Maclean's magazine declared Butts to be the fourteenth most powerful Canadian.
Early life and education
Butts grew up in the Bridgeport neighbourhood of Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, with three older brothers and one older sister. He is the son of Charles William "Charlie" Butts, a coal miner who was 56 years old when Butts was born and retired when Butts was 6 years old, and Rita Monica (Yorke) Butts, a nurse and a first-generation Canadian daughter of a Ukrainian father and a Polish mother. He attended Bridgeport School (now closed) and then St. Michael's High School (now a junior high school).
He received a B.A. and M.A. in English literature from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. It was at McGill that he was introduced to Justin Trudeau by a mutual friend. There, he was also elected president of the Canadian University Society for Intercollegiate Debate and won the national debating championships two years in a row. He briefly attended York University to pursue a Ph.D.
In 1999, Butts became a policy director within the Government of Ontario. He was the policy secretary, and later the principal secretary, in the office of the then premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty, in Toronto. Prior to the 2007 election, Butts was a McGuinty insider. After the election, he became McGuinty’s principal adviser. As one of his biographical notes describes it, Butts "was intimately involved in all of the government’s significant environmental initiatives, from the Greenbelt and Boreal Conservation plan to the coal phase-out and toxic reduction strategy."
On December 13, 2012, Butts was interviewed by Steve Paikin for The Agenda on the topic of "The Best Way to Clean Up the Environment". Butts has published articles in the Boston Book Review, the Literary Review of Canada, and Gravitas. He has also appeared on television programs such as W5 and TSN's Off the Record.
2015 Canadian election and premiership of Justin Trudeau
|“||If the Liberals were to win the 2015 election, Gerald Butts could become one of the most powerful people in Canada.||”|
|— Lee Berthiaume|
|“||...it’s hard to picture Trudeau running for prime minister without [Gerald Butts].||”|
|— A fellow political aide|
Stemming from a two-decade-long friendship, Butts became the senior political adviser to Justin Trudeau in 2012. Therefore, he is among the five people with whom Trudeau consults regularly. He assisted on the vast majority of policies on which Trudeau campaigned.
Previously, during Trudeau's initial time as Liberal party leader, Butts advised on such decisions and issues as the legalizing of marijuana, the expulsion of the entire Liberal senate caucus, and Trudeau's position on the Northern Gateway pipeline.
On September 21, 2016, it was reported by the Globe and Mail that Butts charged moving expenses to Canadian taxpayers in the amount of $126,669.56 in order to relocate his residence from Toronto to Ottawa. In the wake of the controversy, he apologized and said he would repay $41,618.62.
He is married to Jodi (Heimpel) Butts, a lawyer, and they have two children, Aidan Ignatius (born May 6, 2006) and Ava Augusta (born December 1, 2007). They resided in High Park, Toronto for 13 years until the family relocated in summer of 2016 to Westboro, Ottawa.
- "Alumnotes". mcgill.ca.
- "Justin and Gerald". thewalrus.ca.
- "Leadership of the Prime Minister's office". Official website of the Parliament of Canada. Retrieved Jan 12, 2016.
- "Inside Trudeau's inner circle". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. Jan 8, 2016. Retrieved Jan 12, 2016.
- "The Maclean's Power List: The 50 most important people in Canada". 2014-11-22. Retrieved 2016-09-27.
- Lee Berthiaume, Ottawa Citizen More Lee Berthiaume, Ottawa Citizen. "Trudeau's most trusted adviser? A Cape Bretoner named Gerry Butts - Ottawa Citizen". Ottawa Citizen.
- "Glace Bay native key adviser in Trudeau's inner circle". capebretonpost.com.
- Patriquin, Martin. "Meet the man who made his friend the next prime minister". Macleans.ca.
- "Cape Breton man key player in Trudeau victory". CTV News.
- The Liberal Team That Dethroned the Tories (Ottawa Citizen, 2003)
- WWF-Canada Appoints New CEO (WWF-Canada,2008)[dead link]
- "A message from Gerald Butts". WWF-Canada Blog.
- The Hill Times. "Butts resigns from job to work full-time on Trudeau's Liberal leadership bid, creates more speculation over McGuinty's federal intentions". hilltimes.com. Archived from the original on 2016-01-08.
- "Agenda Plus: The Best Way to Clean Up the Environment". TVO.
- Gerald Butts on Climate Change. YouTube. 15 December 2009.
- Stone, Laura (September 21, 2016). "Top Trudeau aides Butts, Telford expensed over $200,000 for moving homes". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved September 22, 2016.
- Zimonjic, Peter (September 22, 2016). "Senior PMO staffers Gerald Butts and Katie Telford to return $65K in 'unreasonable' moving expenses". CBC News. Retrieved September 23, 2016.
- Radwanski, Adam (September 3, 2016). "Gerald Butts: The BFF in the PMO". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
- Law Society of Upper Canada - call to the bar in Toronto on Feb. 24, 2000.
- "Alumnotes". McGill University. McGill News. August 7, 2008. Retrieved November 21, 2015.
GERALD MICHAEL BUTTS, BA’93, MA’96, and his wife Jodi Heimpel Butts welcomed the arrival of their son, Aidan Ignatius, born on May 6, 2006. Gerald is Principal Secretary to Premier Dalton McGuinty and lives in Toronto.
- "Alumnotes". McGill University. McGill News. December 16, 2008.
GERALD BUTTS, BA'93, MA'96, and his wife Jodi are happy to announce the safe and healthy arrival of their second child, Ava Augusta Butts. Ava was born on December 1, 2007 at Women's College Hospital in Toronto.