01/12/2012 08:17 EST | Updated 03/13/2012 05:12 EDT

Christy Clark names former lobbyist chief of staff

There’s been a major shakeup in the B.C. premier's office, with the appointment of Ken Boessenkool as Christy Clark’s new chief of staff.

Boessenkool -- a former lobbyist and advisor to Prime Minister Stephen Harper -- replaces Clark’s first chief of staff, Mike McDonald, who now becomes the premier’s principal secretary.

Boessenkool was a policy adviser and strategist for Harper and, in a separate job, lobbied for a long list of clients including Suncor Energy, GlaxoSmithKline, Bell Canada, WestJet and Taser International.

Boessenkool also did lobbying work for Enbridge, the proponent of the Northern Gateway Pipeline project now under review at hearings in northern B.C.

NDP critical of appointment

Clark said no one should worry about potential conflicts of interest involving her new top aide.

“People, when they're in the private sector, leave those things behind when they come to government,” Clark told the CBC’s Jeff Davies Thursday. “The fact is advisers advise, premiers decide. And I think people know where I stand on lots of those issues.”

But NDP house leader John Horgan says Boessenkool's appointment will be disconcerting to anyone concerned about the Enbridge pipeline.

Horgan said it appears the premier is trying to shore up her support on the political right.