Rob Ford’s ex–campaign chief receives a little gravy from B.C.’s HST fight

Rob Ford’s ex–campaign chief receives a little gravy from B.C.’s HST fight

Here’s an interesting story, reported by the Globe and Mail and flagged by the CBC’s Kady O’Malley. The government of British Columbia, in the midst of trying to convince voters not to reject the HST brought in by former premier Gordon Campbell, paid out more than a quarter of a million dollars to PR firms, including one in Ontario: Campaign Research Ltd., which just so happens to be co-founded by none other than the brains behind Rob Ford’s mayoral campaign, Nick Kouvalis.

From the CBC’s Inside Politics blog:

What [the Globe] does not point out, however, is that Campaign Research was co-founded by former Conservative Party national councillor and past party vice-president Richard Ciano, who—along with his then-partner Nick Kouvalis—was also a key member of the team that propelled Rob Ford to victory in last year’s Toronto mayoral race.

Like most political communications firms, Campaign Research Ltd. tends to prefer to operate beneath the radar, they seem to have been willing to make an exception for Ford; not only does the CRL website feature a congratulatory post-victory statement that highlights the firm’s role in his victory, but Ciano and Kouvalis allowed themselves to be quoted extensively in a lengthy Globe profile on the race.

As O’Malley notes, this is basically an indicator of how fluid political identities are—someone like Kouvalis can work for Rob Ford one day and then the Liberals the next because: (a) the Liberals in B.C. aren’t “liberal” in the eastern Canada sense of the term and (b) hey, who turns down free money?

Oh, wait. The guy who Kouvalis got elected does that. The secret $167,000 commission that Kouvalis’s firm was paid to help the B.C. government sell a tax increase (uh, respect?) is approximately equal to the cost of 14 farewell parties for Kyle Rae. Meanwhile, the HST that Campaign Research Ltd. is helping defend is the equivalent of two or three vehicle-registration taxes per year for the average B.C. family.

Hey, politics makes strange bedfellows, and we have no doubt that if Campaign Research Ltd. is hired by Tim Hudak to rail against Ontario’s HST, it will do so—and happily.

Firms with B.C. Liberal ties awarded secret contracts in pro-HST campaign [Globe and Mail]
BC Secret HST Contract Watch: Now, where have we seen those names before? [CBC]