Joseph LavoieCampaigner + Digital Advocate

A brewmaster, somewhere on the West Coast, near a good climbing crag.
A Principal at Navigator, Canada’s leading high-stakes communications firm.
Director of Strategic Communications for PM Harper and Foreign Minister Baird.
Chef. OK, who are we kidding…home-cook.

About Me

/Who Am I

I set big goals and then work like a dog to make them real in everything I do. And by everything, I mean everything but laundry and billiards. Thankfully, I do neither for a living. No matter how tough the assignment, I maintain a sharp focus on the final outcome, looking for ways to improve products and process along the way. If I’m not getting the job done, I get cranky. My wife has no time for that, so I’m rarely cranky. However, I am the kind of guy who will be first in line at the farmer’s market so I can source the best ingredients, then spend hours obsessing over how I’ll present the final dish when I’m cooking dinner for friends. I’m conscientious of the smallest details and expect the highest quality of myself. Have a big goal? Want to make something happen? Let’s chat.


1Decade of experience.
2Former Prime Minister's advised.
31200Hours worked.Totally made this up.
2Batches of beer I've made with curry leaves. Yes, it's as bad as it sounds.


/My entire career

Aug 4

Principal (Aug 2015-Present)

Navigator Ltd.

I'm back at the high-stakes communications firm that kick-started my career in public affairs. I now lead the firm's fledging digital practice, providing strategic communications advice to our clients on their toughest public affairs challenges and crises. If you have a high-stakes communications challenge, let's talk.

Director, Strategic Communications (2013-2015)

Prime Minister's Office

I joined the Prime Minister's office to manage the PM's long-term communications agenda, identifying and planning opportunities to communicate the government's priorities to Canadians. I led a team of managers, advisors, and producers overseeing the Government's proactive communications efforts, ensuring thematic consistency and message discipline across all our communications efforts. I also introduced branded content marketing to help the Government communicate directly to Canadians, on the platforms they consume information on.

Aug 17
Sep 1

Director of Strategic Communications (2012-2013)

Minister of Foreign Affairs

I was Minister Baird's principal speechwriter tasked with modernizing the government's digital diplomacy efforts. Working with the Minister's policy advisors, and the brightest minds at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, we conceptualized and launched Direct Diplomacy, which has since connected civil society to 4.5 million Iranians.

Press Secretary (2011-2012)

Minister of Foreign Affairs

After PM Harper won an historic majority government in 2011, he appointed John Baird as Canada's Foreign Minister. I was honoured to serve as his spokesperson, executing proactive and reactive media relations with Parliamentary, national and international journalists. I was responsible for the Minister's daily briefing in advance of media appearances and managed proactive and reactive media scrums.

Oct 15
Sep 1

BA, Political Science (2007)

Glendon College

Glendon, you ask? It's the charming bilingual campus of York University, nestled in and around the Bridal Path in Toronto. In some ways, you could say it's a nation within a nation at York. Those who went to Glendon rarely, if ever, say they want to York. No, this is a different place, a different culture, and one you won't find on main campus.

Oct 7

Director, Social Media (2011)

Ontario PC Party

Tim Hudak wanted to do big things online. I developed a data-driven strategy that targeted supporters and worked them up the advocacy ladder, converting potential fans to committed fans, committed fans to online advocates, and online advocates to offline volunteers. I led an amazing team of 12 volunteers responsible for nine core components of the campaign: online quick response, online mobilization, digital advertising, outreach, candidate services, video production, real-time content production, monitoring and analysis, and a digital get-out-the-vote program. We also introduced gamification to Canadian politics, with a Facebook app that converted enthusiasts into activists and volunteers.



95%Strategic Communications
90%Digital Activation
80%Media Relations
100%Exploding Carboys


/Recent Musings

Digital and Politics
Dec 8
Retro Television Set

Someone, unplug this TV

Does November 9th, 2015 ring a bell? If you’re of a certain era, you may remember it as the 26th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was…

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What we saw at the Syrian Border

Last week, I was with the PM on his historic visit to the Middle East. As part of my work, I accompanied Members of Parliament as they received a briefing…

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Jan 26
Food and Recipes
May 27
Sorrel and Peas

Sorrel, Peas and Buttery Rice

Persian rice pilafs are a wonderful thing—exceptionally fluffy rice with the separated grains that are not sticky. Add in butter and almonds, and you've got yourself an addictive base upon…

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Grilled Pizza

Grilled Pizza with Herb Salad

My wife makes killer pizza dough. She's become quite the pizza guru and we now have regular pizza nights. It's always my favorite night of the week. I also love how…

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May 20
Hops and Yeast
Apr 11
Beau's Custom Label

Beer, Diplomacy and Local Business

Sometimes the best days on the job are those when unexpected events throw me off kilter and I find myself scrambling to make it work. Often, that means we're dealing…

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West Coast Amber Ale: One Week Later

It's been a week since I bottled the West Coast Amber Ale. That means it's time to check in tasting. The beer is never ready so soon, but I do…

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Apr 9
Life and Parenting
Aug 16

Back in Toronto and loving it

After four amazing years in Ottawa where I had the privilege of serving Foreign Minister Baird and Prime Minister Harper, I've returned to Navigator — the high-stakes communications firm that kick-started my career nearly…

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Red Formula One Car

How to drive a “race car” with kids in the back seat

My two boys are obsessed with the Cars franchise. Often, as I way to distract from the bickering or whining in the backseat of the car, I'll pretend that we're Lightning…

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Jan 9