Nick Kouvalis is back, as an adviser to Doug Ford's party - and now he's lobbying the government too - 2021-04-30
It was mid-April, and in Ontario the third wave of COVID-19 was barrelling out of control. With provincial science table models projecting an unprecedented surge without action, the Progressive Conservative caucus met to hash out what exactly should be done. On the call that day were elected MPPs, the premier, his staff and some party officials. They debated stricter lockdowns, longer closures and just leaving everything as it was. But one voice kept coming back to a singular point according to party sources. We need to do more, he argued, because the public wants more.
That voice belonged to Nick Kouvalis, a lightning-rod strategist with a reputation built on equal parts controversy and success. Kouvalis has emerged as perhaps the most important researcher for the PC party ahead of the election scheduled for next year. He speaks to Premier Doug Ford regularly, according to one source, and provides his team with counsel and policy advice. But in the past year, Kouvalis has picked up another gig too: Lobbyist.
Since at least March 2019, the Windsor-based strategist has been offering corporate clients a voice at Queen's Park. He is now both advising the government for money — one of his firms, Campaign Support Ltd., received $121,000 for "caucus support services" from the Ontario government in 2019-2020 — while also seeking to influence government policy on behalf of paying clients.