Peter MacKay's powerful ally-a lobbyist with SNC-Lavalin ties - 2020-02-10
The strategist who has been working for decades to make Peter MacKay the prime minister is one of the high-powered lobbyists who tried to convince the Trudeau government to help SNC-Lavalin avoid a criminal trial for bribing corrupt officials in Libya.
William Pristanski, a well-connected former senior aide to Brian Mulroney, is raising money and offering strategic advice on MacKay's campaign to succeed Andrew Scheer as leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. It's a relationship that is likely to come under the spotlight if MacKay wins the leadership race and takes over the party in June, as seems likely.
MacKay is said to be close to Pristanski, even closer than to Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown, who has put his impressive southern Ontario political organization behind MacKay's campaign. It's a relationship whose roots go back to the days when MacKay was a student at Acadia University and his father, Elmer, gave up his seat in the House of Commons to provide a byelection opportunity for Brian Mulroney, then the new leader of the Progressive Conservatives. Mulroney easily won the race, and in 1983, he became, briefly the MP for Central Nova, the riding that Elmer and Peter both represented in Ottawa. Pristanksi was then a junior aide to Mulroney in Ottawa.