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Your name matters: rebranding in the public sector

Your name matters: rebranding in the public sector

Stewart Kiff | May 2017

Your name matters. It is the first interaction you have with your clients, your customers and your funders. You don’t have a second chance to make a first impression. Yet, the public sector is cursed with poor “brands”, as the civil servants who named your agency or organization typically did not take into account how to best tell your story to your customers or how those customers would react emotionally to the often very bland, cumbersome or byzantine brand they were giving you. What organization today would choose to be known as the Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic District[...]

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Why a “Lobby Day” at Queen’s Park provides real value

Craig Brockwell | March 2017

Lobby days can mean significant additional work. But they are popular because they add depth and personal relationships to your normal government relations’ strategy. Legislative changes outlawing MPP fundraisers came into effect on January 1, 2017. That means occasions to establish or cultivate personal relationships with MPPs will be harder to come by. A lobby day, if done right, can provide a new way to develop relationships with MPPs. And MPPs really enjoy them as well since these events provide them with useful information. What’s more, it allows you to engage with Ontario’s three main political parties and not just[...]

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Sault Ste-Marie by-election: still no Liberal candidate in sight

Stewart Kiff | March 2017

Although a by-election has yet to be called, the race is unofficially on in the riding of Sault Ste. Marie for the seat left empty by the resignation of former Corrections Minister David Orazietti at the end of December 2016. Both the Progressive Conservatives and the New Democrats have nominated candidates who presently sit on Sault Ste. Marie’s City Council. Ross Romano was chosen as the PC’s representative last November, while Joe Krmpotich was nominated at the end of January. A third city councillor, Matthew Shoemaker, very recently turned down an invitation to run for Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals, saying the[...]

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Ottawa-Vanier federal by-election

Stewart Kiff | March 2017

The challenge of changing demographics for the Franco-Ontarian community To say that the riding of Ottawa-Vanier is a Liberal stronghold is not an exaggeration. At the federal level, only Liberals have been elected since the creation of the riding in 1935. At the provincial level, where it exists since 1908, the riding has been represented almost non-stop by a Liberal MPP, except for a few short periods during which Conservatives held the seat. But voting Liberal is not the only constant in this downtown Ottawa riding. All of Ottawa-Vanier’s elected representatives have been Franco-Ontarian, save for its very first MPP.[...]

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A look ahead… and back

Stewart Kiff | January 2017

Political financing: new rules take effect in Ontario Important changes have occurred in political fundraising in Ontario. If you donate money to Ontario politicians, you need to be aware of these new rules. Among the changes which came into effect on January 1st as a result of the Wynne Government’s Bill 2 are the following: Political donations from corporations, unions and other groups not affiliated with political parties are prohibited; The total amount individuals can donate is reduced by almost 90 per cent -- from $33,250 to a maximum of $3,600 in an election year; Individual annual contribution limits to[...]

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Lessons to be learned from Donald Trump’s victory

Craig Brockwell | January 2017

Simply astonishing and bewildering! That was the reaction from many after Donald Trump won an unexpected victory in the US elections last November 8th. Few had predicted that the United States would elect someone cast as the most under-qualified individual to run for public office. Since then, a number of explanations of why this happened have been put forward, but personally, I believe a general lack of civics knowledge is to blame. And let’s not think this problem exists only in the US. To my mind, the election of former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was also the result of a[...]

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The rules for election financing, they are a changin

Craig Brockwell | November 2016

These days, you may be receiving many invitations to political fundraising activities. Don’t be surprised. The three political parties at Queen's Park are rushing to fill their coffers before new rules on election financing come into force. Indeed, just days after proroguing the Legislature in early September, the Wynne government reintroduced its Bill on election finance reform. The Bill has passed second reading and is now under study by a parliamentary committee. Bear in mind the Liberal government prepared this Bill after being heavily criticized for its practice of setting funding targets for its ministers. Premier Wynne and her ministers[...]

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With Solstice, you’re getting a proven track record

Stewart Kiff | November 2016

It’s no secret that the effectiveness of a government relations firm is based primarily on the credibility and network of contacts it manages to establish in the political and governmental environment. Without wishing to boast unduly, I think it’s important that you know, as a customer of Solstice Public Affairs, that the consultants you work with are well-known at Queen's Park. Both my partner Craig Brockwell and I have developed close ties with a large number of MPPs in the three major political parties in Ontario. We also personally know many public servants and political staffers in the various departments.[...]

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Star PC Candidate André Marin Stirs Up Ottawa-Vanier Race

Stewart Kiff | October 2016

Ontario politics continues to surprise. Until a recent announcement, I would have told you that the opposition NDP and PC parties had very little chance of winning the by-election that should be called shortly in the Liberal stronghold of Ottawa-Vanier. Everything changed when former Ontario Ombudsman and well-known public figure André Marin entered the race on September 24. Mr. Marin brings with him a flair for media attention. He is a Francophone. And he has built up over many years a strong personal brand as an advocate for average Canadians who are struggling with the government. He's also wisely focusing his campaign on energy prices and what he sees as[...]

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Aiming for the Finish Line

Craig Brockwell | October 2016

I don’t get called on a regular basis to represent a political party on the talk show circuit. Nonetheless, I have experience running successful local campaigns and providing strategy to the candidates I’ve managed. The real trick is getting the candidates to buy in to the advice they are given. To a person, they have run successfully for office and believe they know what makes the voters ‘tick’. Their experience may be limited to the municipal or school board level, but they all know what needs to be done to win, or think they do. This attitude often extends to[...]

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