Pallister, Selinger bring big gun political operatives to Manitoba

Manitoba's top two political parties have brought in big-name campaign operatives gearing up for their fight in the April 2016 provincial election.

PCs tap Brian Mulroney's chief of staff, NDP nab man responsible for Rachel Notley's Alberta success

Gerry Scott turns his sights on helping Manitoba NDP get re-elected after helping Rachel Notley and the NDP take Alberta. (Patrick Tam/Flickr)

Manitoba's top two political parties have brought in big-name campaign operatives gearing up for their fight in the April 2016 provincial election.

Veteran New Democrat strategist Gerry Scott will be playing a big role in the Manitoba NDPs re-election bid.

There was no one silver bullet,- Gerry Scott, veteran NDP strategist

"I've done a lot of campaigning, and I guess they think I can help, and I'd like to think I can too," said Scott, who was born in Saskatchewan and raised in British Columbia.

Scott was the campaign director for Rachel Notley's New Democrats unexpected sweep to power in Alberta. Most recently, he was the campaign co-ordinator for the New Democrats on Vancouver Island in the federal election.

While the rest of the country was painted red in a Liberal majority, under Scott's direction, the NDP won six of seven seats on Vancouver Island.

"There was no one silver bullet," he said. "I think we were able to draw a very strong contrast with the Conservatives."

Scott will employ this same strategy in Manitoba's next election.

How did it happen?

Scott is filling the shoes of veteran strategist Michael Balagus, a longtime campaign manager for the Manitoba NDP.

Balagus supported Selinger's main challenger Theresa Oswald during the NDP leadership election in 2015. Selinger defeated Oswald by a slim 33 votes in March.

Scott said he was contacted to be involved in the 2016 campaign by Premier Greg Selinger's new chief of staff Jeremy Read.

Read was working at the University of Winnipeg when he was tapped to lead Selinger's staff after a cabinet revolt last fall.

The revolt lead to Selinger separating from seven key staffers, including then chief of staff Liam Martin.

Tories tap Brian Mulroney's former chief of staff

For the 2016 provincial election campaign, the Progressive Conservatives have David McLaughlin steering the ship. McLaughlin is another big-name in Canadian politics. 
David McLaughlin, the former chief of staff for Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, will help Brian Pallister and the Manitoba Tories try and get elected. ((CBC))

He was the chief of staff for former Tory Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, along with the chief of staff for long-time finance minister, the late Jim Flaherty.

McLaughlin was at CBC Manitoba on Wednesday for an appearence on CBC's Power and Politics, but refused to do an interview about his involvement in the provincial election.

Despite a surge for the federal Liberals and a re-energized provincial party, the Manitoba Liberals do not have a campaign manager yet.

About the Author

Chris Glover

CBC News Reporter

Chris spent half a decade as a political reporter for CBC Winnipeg, but now that he's returned to his hometown of Toronto, he's excitedly sinking his teeth in all sorts of stories. Discovering new neighbourhoods isn't a 9 to 5 job and after years away, he has a lot to catch up on. When he's not running around the city with a camera, you can find him on the island soaking up the sun or riding the trails along the Don River.