After recently naming Rick Miller as the new Official Opposition Chief of Staff, David Swann today named Neil Mackie as the Communications Director, replacing former Director Larry Johnsrude.
Mackie comes from Calgary with some interesting (and perhaps mixed) partisan roots.
Having served as President of the Calgary-Southwest Federal Liberal Association, Mackie ran unsuccessfully against former Calgary-West PC MLA Karen Kryczka in the 2007 Board of Education election, and is listed as having supported Michael Ignatieff during the 2006 Federal Liberal leadership race.
Mackie will be leaving his position as President of the Calgary-based Vincero Communications, a subsidiary of Ivrnet Inc. In the recent past, Ivrnet/Vincero have done political polling for Calgary-Currie MLA Dave Taylor during his unsuccessful Liberal leadership bid, and former Edmonton-Riverview PC candidate Wendy Andrews during her run against former Liberal leader Kevin Taft in March 2008. I’m told that while working with the company, Mackie also handled polling in up to 53 PC held ridings during the 2008 election, and in Calgary-Buffalo for the campaign of Liberal Kent Hehr.
Well-known politicos with Ivrnet/Vincero connections include its current Vice-President, former Calgary-Centre Reform Party MP Eric Lowther, and former Calgary Herald reporter David Heyman. Heyman was employed as Director of Communications for Ivrnet/Vincero before becoming Calgary Communications Manager for Premier Ed Stelmach.