Hill+Knowlton Strategies’ public affairs experts are available for commentary and analysis in the lead up to Canada’s federal election. The team is comprised of members from across the country, from all party lines with a variety of in-depth expertise in national affairs, campaigns and digital media analysis.
H+K experts are available to provide analysis on debates, commentary on campaign stories of the day and high-level forecasts leading up to the dropping of the writ and during the campaign. Please find a full list of the experts below.
H+K national affairs experts:
Omar Khan, national affairs expert + political strategist, Liberal (Toronto): Omar is widely recognized as an expert in national affairs and public policy, regularly providing insightful analysis of the day’s most intricate stories. He has critical knowledge of the election’s most crucial subjects and has spent more than a decade working at senior levels of the Ontario government, as well as federal and provincial election campaigns. He served as Chief of Staff to the Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, the Chief of Staff at the Office of the Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Employment and at the Office of the Minister of Government Services. He has been Senior Policy and Stakeholder Relations Advisor with the Office of the Attorney General of Ontario, the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities and the Minister of Labour. Furthermore, he was an early member of Ontario’s cannabis legalization steering committee.
Anne McGrath, political strategist, NDP (Ottawa): Anne has a distinguished background in Canadian politics and is recognized as one of Canada’s most perceptive commentators on national affairs. She served as principal secretary to former Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, as national director of the New Democratic Party of Canada during the 2015 federal election, as federal party president of the New Democratic Party of Canada from 2006 to 2009 and as Jack Layton’s Chief of Staff. She has long established herself as one of the wisest strategic thinkers on both the national and provincial political stages and the respect and strong working rapport she’s earned with elected representatives and policy leaders transcends political parties.
Melissa Lantsman, national affairs expert + political strategist, Conservative (Toronto): Melissa has more than a decade of experience serving as a strategic communications leader in high-profile positions across the most senior ranks of the federal government, political campaigns and in the private sector. With a diverse background spanning finance, trade, foreign affairs and the environment. She was head of Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s 2018 Campaign War Room and served as chief spokesperson. She held senior roles in the 2008, 2011 and 2015 federal Conservative Party of Canada campaign war rooms. From 2007 to 2015, she served as director of communications for Canada’s ministers of finance, foreign affairs, trade and the environment. She regularly provides insightful analysis of the day’s most intricate stories as a member of CBC’s Power and Politics’ Power Panel and hosts her own weekly program on Newstalk1010 in Toronto.
John Delacourt, national public affairs expert + political strategist, Liberal (Ottawa): John has tremendous experience in Canadian national affairs as he spent twelve years working on Parliament Hill for three Liberal governments. He was the Director of Communications at the Liberal Caucus Research Bureau where he worked closely with the Prime Minister’s Office providing communications and issues management support on a wide range of policy initiatives. Prior to that he worked with Ministers and Members of Parliament in a number of different political roles, including as campaign manager for the Bill Blair campaign in 2015. A successful author and frequent commentator on national affairs, he has published three novels and has written for Policy Magazine, the Hill Times and the Ottawa Citizen.
Vivek Prabhu, national affairs + digital campaign expert, Conservative (Toronto): Vivek has deep knowledge and experience from various provincial governments and elections campaigns as well as the federal government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He played a key role in the successful election campaign war rooms of Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney in traditional and digital advertising. He served as a senior communications advisor and digital director to British Columbia Premier Christy Clark and served in the office of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, concentrating efforts on media relations and issues management.
Peter Donolo, political communications expert (Toronto): Peter is one of Canada’s most experienced communications strategists. As the longest-serving prime ministerial director of communications in Canadian history to Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, he has represented Canada abroad as a senior diplomat and served as a senior executive in the private and public sectors. Peter is available for high-level commentary and one-on-one discussions.
Kevin Bosch, national public affairs expert + political strategist, Liberal (Ottawa): Kevin has over two decades of experience working with elected officials, notably serving in various leadership roles with the Liberal Research Bureau, providing two Prime Ministers and three Liberal leaders with strategic research and advice. He served as a member of the Liberal Party of Canada campaign team for six consecutive general elections between 2000-2015. He also worked with the Alberta Liberal Caucus at the Alberta Legislative Assembly in Edmonton. Kevin can provide analysis and background of historical Canadian political events.
H+K British Columbia affairs experts:
Stephen Smart, British Columbia public affairs expert + political strategist (Vancouver): Stephen has a deeply rooted West Coast perspective and expertise in public affairs. He’s served as the Press Secretary to a Premier of British Columbia and as Executive Director of Communications and Issues Management for British Columbia’s Official Opposition Caucus. He spent 15 years as an award-winning journalist with several of Canada’s top news organizations including serving as the Legislative Bureau Chief, a reporter, producer and talk show host.
Kareem Allam, British Columbia public affairs expert + political strategist (Vancouver): Kareem has more than a decade of private and public sector experience in public affairs. During this time, he has fostered a unique understanding of Canada’s Chinese, South Asian and Indigenous communities while developing policy expertise in the energy, health and transportation sectors. He has practical, first-hand knowledge of rural Canada, its relationship with urban Canada, Indigenous peoples and government. He has successfully levered his knowledge of people, policy and place into successful political campaigns at the municipal, provincial and federal levels.
H+K Quebec affairs experts:
Josiane Herbert, Quebec affairs expert (Quebec City): Josiane has extensive knowledge and insight of the inner workings of the Quebec municipal, provincial and federal government bodies. With a strong background in bureaucracy, public and government affairs, she worked as a regional journalist in Quebec City for several years before serving as a press officer and deputy chief of staff to former Minister Normand Cherry during his postings with the provincial departments of labor and transport. She held posts with the research and communications branch of the Quebec Liberal Party’s parliamentary wing at the National Assembly, specializing in environment, natural resources, industry, trade and transport. Josiane is available for French-only commentary and analysis.
Martin Briand, Quebec affairs expert (Quebec City): Martin has a diverse background in health and government relations. He has strong expertise with a wide range of stakeholders, with the Quebec political landscape and the inner workings of public administration. He served as a special policy advisor in several ministerial offices where he worked on issues related to health, professional orders, academic affairs and performance management. Martin is available for French-only commentary and analysis.
H+K specialty experts:
Lindsay Finneran-Gingras, digital campaign + advertising expert (Toronto): Lindsay is one of Canada’s leading digital public affairs strategists, having built and led campaigns for major corporate and issues files. Her work has pioneered the digital public affairs space in Canada, combing data, insight and strategy to build and win critical campaigns. Lindsay is a commentator on political digital campaigns, digital communications trends, advertising, data and analytics, social and digital engagement.
Elliott Gauthier, research, data + analytics expert (Ottawa): Elliott has designed and overseen non-partisan polling for major media outlets, digital media and clients in every provincial election in Ontario, federal election and select provincial elections in British Columbia and Alberta for close to 20 years now. As an expert in innovative mix-mode and cross-disciplined research methods, Elliott can provide data-backed insight on nature of party support, key issues, topics and the opportunities that exist for the parties and their leaders.
Brett Bell, digital campaign expert, Conservative (Toronto): Brett has been a Conservative activist for more than 20 years. In 2009, Brett moved to the online space, acting as the Digital Director for the successful Tim Hudak leadership campaign. In the 2011 Ontario election, Brett ran the online activism efforts for the Party’s campaign and in the 2015 Ontario PC leadership race, he chaired the digital campaign for runner up Christine Elliott.
About Hill+Knowlton Strategies
With seven offices across the country, Hill+Knowlton Strategies (H+K) Canada is a leader in both public relations and public affairs. Headquartered in Toronto, the company is the No. 1-rated strategic communications firm in the country. Its experts specialize in corporate communications, marketing communications, public affairs, public participation, crisis, energy, technology, health care, content marketing, data + analytics, social and digital communications, financial communications and transactions. The only communications firm to have earned the Canada Order of Excellence for Quality from Excellence Canada, it has been recognized as one of the Best Workplaces in Canada for 12 consecutive years. Its parent company, Hill+Knowlton Strategies Inc., has offices in more than 40 countries as well as an extensive associate network; and it is a member of WPP (NASDAQ: WPPGY), one of the world’s largest communications services groups.
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