Tag Archives: Mark Wells

Thousands of Albertans packed the Legislature Grounds to watch Premier Rachel Notley and the NDP cabinet be sworn-in.

NDP hires political strategist Corey Hogan to run the Public Affairs Bureau

Political strategist Corey Hogan has been hired as the government’s new managing director of the Public Affairs Bureau. He replaces Mark Wells, who announced last week that he was leaving after a year in the job. Mr. Wells previously served as director of communications with the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, the province’s largest public sector union.

Corey Hogan

Corey Hogan

The two sentence biography included in today’s government press statement does not do Mr. Hogan justice.

Corey Hogan has more than a decade of experience in communications, advertising and engagement. Most recently he served as the Chief Strategy Officer at Northweather, a digital communications consultancy based in Calgary.

Known to political watchers most recently for his contribution to the popular The Strategists podcast, which released its final episode last week, Mr. Hogan was already a fixture in Alberta politics before the podcast was launched. He made a name for himself as an organizer for Stephane Dion during the 2006 federal Liberal leadership convention and later in provincial politics when he worked as the campaign manager for Calgary MLA Dave Taylor‘s 2009 leadership bid and executive director and campaign strategist for the provincial Liberal Party until after the 2012 election. Two years later he was a strategist for Alberta Party leader Greg Clark’s campaign during the 2014 Calgary-Elbow by-election.

He later worked for the global public relations firm Hill & Knowlton before founding a new company, Northweather.

Not always a backroom strategist, Mr. Hogan aspired for public office in 2009 when he ran, unsuccessfully, for the Liberal Party nomination ahead of the Calgary-Glenmore by-election. That campaign saw former Wildrose MLA Paul Hinman eke out a narrow win over Liberal Avalon Roberts, providing a spark that helped propel the then-fledgeling fringe party to Official Opposition in 2012.

He was spotted earlier this year attending the NDP’s convention in Calgary and was jokingly referred to as “the Orange apologist” by podcast co-contributors Zain Velji and Stephen Carter for his progressive views on The Strategists podcast.

I admit to being initially surprised when I heard that Mr. Hogan was hired for this role. This is not because I do not believe he is capable, I expect he is, but I half expected that the new managing director would be a former NDP staffer from Manitoba, Ontario or British Columbia, where many of this government’s top political talent hails from. Mr. Hogan is a smart political operator, comes from outside the traditional NDP establishment, and has experience in Alberta politics.

As a progressive Calgarian, he will bring a different perspective into the halls of government in Edmonton and a new focus on digital communications that past Public Affairs Bureau directors may not have had. He recently launched the Canada15 online campaign, which asked the question: why can’t the federal government bring in $15 national minimum wage in every province all across Canada?

Clear and strategic communications has been a source of weakness for Premier Rachel Notley‘s NDP since it formed government in 2015. Significant communications failures around issues such as changes to farm safety legislation and a court challenge to power purchase agreements have caused the government embarrassment and cost the NDP support in the polls.

Mr. Hogan is joining a government that must simultaneously climb a steep hill and fight an uphill battle if it wants to successfully convince Albertans to embrace and accept the long list of aggressive policy changes, including the NDP’s flagship Climate Leadership Plan.

The NDP have hired a smart and strategic political operator in Corey Hogan. Now they would do well to listen to his advice.

Yellowhead federal by-election called for November 17

Alberta_Yellowhead_Highway

The Yellowhead Highway is a major east-west highway connecting the four western Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

Providing a distraction from the four provincial by-elections currently being held in Alberta, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced today that federal by-elections will be held in Ontario’s Whitby-Oshawa riding and Alberta’s Yellowhead riding.

The Yellowhead by-election is triggered by the resignation of five-term Conservative Member of Parliament Rob Merrifield, who was appointed by Premier Jim Prentice as Alberta’s envoy in Washington D.C.

Covering a huge swath of west central Alberta, the Yellowhead riding sprawls from Jasper National Park in the west to Drayton Valley, Onoway and Barrhead in the east.

The Hinton Voice reported on September 25 that two candidates were seeking the federal Conservative nomination in this riding. Former Yellowhead Conservatives President Jim Eglinski served as Mayor of Fort St. John from 2005 to 2008 and Gerald Soroka has has served as the Mayor of Yellowhead County since 2007.

According to the Voice, Hinton Town Councillor and local social studies teacher Ryan Maguhn filed his papers to become the Liberal Party candidate.

Yellowhead voted solidly Conservative riding in the 2011 election. Conservative candidate Mr. Merrifield earned 77% of the total vote in Yellowhead, with NDP candidate Mark Wells earning 13%. Green candidate Monika Shaeffer placed third with 5.1% and Liberal Zack Siezmagraff placed fourth with 2.8%.

The riding was represented by former Prime Minister Joe Clark from 1979 to 1993. In the 1988 election, Mr. Clark faced Reform Party leader Preston Manning, who he defeated 44% to 27%. Five years later, in the 1993 election, Reform Party candidate Cliff Breitkreuz was elected with 55% of the vote. He represented the riding in Ottawa until Mr. Merrifield was first elected in 2000.

tories dominate, opposition parties scramble to nominate in alberta.

Gearing up for the seemingly inevitable federal election, political parties have been holding a flurry of nomination meetings to complete their slates of candidates in Alberta.

Conservatives
Dominating the political scene in Alberta, the Conservatives have a fully nominated slate of 28 candidates including 25 incumbent Members of Parliament. New candidates include Ryan Hastman in the NDP held riding of Edmonton-Strathcona, Michelle Rempel in the vacant Calgary-Centre North riding, and Jim Hillyer in the Lethbridge riding being vacated by the retiring Rick Casson.

Best Alberta showings in 2008 election:
Crowfoot: 39,342 (82%)
Macleod: 35,328 (77%)
Calgary-Southeast 41,425 (74%)
Wetaskiwin 32,528 (77%)
Vegreville-Wainwright 34,493 (77%)

Liberals
The Liberals have only around half of their slate of candidates nominated in Alberta. Longstanding nominated candidates include Mary MacDonald in Edmonton-Centre and Kevin Taron in Edmonton-St. Albert. Recently nominated candidates are Stephen Randall in Calgary-Centre NorthCam Stewart in Calgary-Northeast and Karen Young in Fort McMurray-Athabasca.

Best Alberta showings in 2008 election:
Edmonton-Centre 12,661 (27%)
Calgary-West 13,204 (22%)
Calgary-Northeast 7,433 (20%)
Edmonton-Mill Woods-Beaumont 7,709 (19%)
Calgary-Centre 8,402 (18%)

New Democrats
The NDP have or are about to nominate the full-slate of candidates in Alberta. The party appears to be focusing their resources behind three candidates: Alberta MP Linda Duncan in Edmonton-Strathcona, former MLA Ray Martin in Edmonton-East, and Lewis Cardinal in Edmonton-Centre.

In a flurry of nomination meetings held over the past few weeks, the NDP have nominated Berend Wilting in Fort McMurray-Athabasca, Lyndsey Henderson in Westlock-St. PaulAl Brown in Calgary-East, Colin Anderson in Calgary-Nose Hill, Kirk Oates in Calgary-Southeast, Collette Singh in Calgary-Northeast), Shawna Knowles in Calgary-WestNadine Bailey in Edmonton-Mill Woods-Beaumont and Mike Scott in Edmonton-Sherwood Park. The NDP have also scheduled nomination meetings for March 24 in Calgary-Centre (candidate Garry Lehmann) and Calgary-Centre North (candidate Paul Vargis), March 25 in Edmonton-Spruce Grove (candidate Catherine Chaulk-Stokes), and March 29 in Vegreville-Wainwright (candidate Ray Stone) and Yellowhead (candidate Mark Wells).

Best Alberta showings in 2008 election:
Edmonton-Strathcona 20,103 (43%)
Edmonton-East 13,318 (32%)
Edmonton-St. Albert 8,045 (16%)
Calgary-Centre North 7,413 (15%)
Edmonton-Centre 6,912 (15%)
Edmonton-Mill Woods-Beaumont 6,297 (15%)

Greens
The Green Party has nominated 21 of 28 candidates in Alberta.

Best Alberta showings in 2008 election:
Calgary-Centre 7,778 (17%)
Calgary-Centre North 7,392 (15%)
Wild Rose 6,390 (13%)
Calgary-West 6,722 (11%)
Calgary-East 3,403 (11%)

(Thanks to Pundits’ Guide for keeping track of the constant federal nomination updates)