Marketing strategist Stewart Braddick plays role in Conservative party's electoral success - 2012-02-28
OTTAWA—Stewart Braddick knows Brian Mulroney as well as former premiers Gordon Campbell and Mike Harris. He has worked for all of them. He also knows Stephen Harper and has become an influential strategist behind the federal Conservative party's electoral inroads.
If you've ever taken a call asking for donations to the Tories, Braddick, a political marketing operative at RMG — The Responsive Marketing Group — probably knows something about you, too. The Toronto-based company specializes in identifying and making contact with segments of the population for charities or political parties. An American branch of the firm, Target Outreach, also did $300,000 worth of work for the Republican National Committee, according to OpenSecrets.org, a website that tracks financial data about U.S. politics. RMG has been a driving force behind Harper's electoral success, but now finds itself in the crosshairs of a potential scandal involving alleged Elections Act violations.
Former employees at one of RMG's call centres in Thunder Bay say they may have been asked to send voters in closely fought ridings to the wrong polling stations during the last federal election, helping to give Harper's Tories a majority government. The company had contracts with nearly 100 Conservative candidates in the last election for advertising, "election surveys" or "other research." The Conservatives deny any involvement in alleged voter-suppression activities, saying the party was focused only on getting out the votes of their supporters. The allegation from former RMG call operators, unveiled in the Toronto Star, shines a spotlight on RMG and Braddick, who has spent more than two decades scouting out fertile territory for right-wing politicians in Canada and the United States. Braddick, on vacation, declined comment when contacted by the Star. Other company spokespeople did not respond.