Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 26/4/2012 (2953 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A political strategist who works for a Republican campaign consulting firm is helping to run Brian Pallister's Tory leadership campaign.
Jim Ross, who is based in Ontario, works as a consultant for Ohio-based Front Porch Strategies, a Republican firm specializing in voter contact and automated campaign phone calls. Both Ross and Front Porch have been in the news lately as peripheral players in the federal robocall controversy.
Ross did not respond to requests for comment, and Pallister declined to be interviewed.
"He felt personnel and staff matters should be kept confidential and did not want to comment," campaign spokesman Del Sexsmith said.
Ross was hired earlier this week as a political analyst. It's not clear if Pallister's campaign will be using Front Porch's voter-contact technology.
Front Porch hit the news last month during the height of the federal robocall scandal after the Conservatives, in an attempt to quell growing controversy, claimed only the Liberals hired U.S.-based political telemarketing firms to make campaign calls.
Shortly afterward, to the Harper government's embarrassment, it was revealed 14 Conservative constituency campaigns used Front Porch to contact voters by phone. Included among those was the re-election campaign of St. Catharines, Ont., MP Rick Dykstra. Ross was Dykstra's campaign manager.
There is nothing illegal about hiring a foreign telemarketing firm during a federal campaign. And there have been no allegations Front Porch Strategies made calls into ridings designed to harass or mislead voters about Elections Canada polling locations
Front Porch has used its telephone technology to aid in many Republican campaigns in the United States, including a teleforum in Iowa last December hosted by a pro-life group featuring the Republican presidential candidates.
"Our passion is helping Republican candidates, elected officials, and conservative causes win by personally connecting them with voters and constituents," reads the company's website.
Front Porch also won an award for best telephone town hall for a forum hosted in Canada last year for Conservative MP Tim Uppal, who was attempting to win support for legislation to create a national Holocaust memorial.
Ross joins other senior staffers on Pallister's campaign, including campaign manager Jim Spencer and Mark Brickell, another Conservative from St. Catharines who has worked in economic development in the Niagara region.
So far, Pallister is the only candidate to make a bid for the leadership of the provincial Progressive Conservatives.
There are few rumours about other possible candidates after Winnipeg Coun. Scott Fielding and Steinbach MLA Kelvin Goertzen declined to throw their hats in the ring.
Still, Pallister appears to be running a full-scale campaign. He has spent much of the month touring the province, has locked in the support of several high-profile caucus members, opened a campaign office in Osborne Village and launched a website.
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