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Team Oswald lands experienced operatives for roster

NDP leadership hopeful Theresa Oswald has a wealth of experience supporting her.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

NDP leadership hopeful Theresa Oswald has a wealth of experience supporting her.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 23/12/2014 (1428 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

IT wasn't so much what she said, but who was listening at the back of the room.

When NDP leadership hopeful Theresa Oswald walked up to the podium Sunday at the Jonathan Toews (Dakota) Community Centre to declare she wants to lead the New Democrats into the next election, much of what she said sounded carefully choreographed by the same people who just days earlier had done the same work for Premier Greg Selinger and his bruised government.

Some had done the same work for former premier Gary Doer, and shared in the glory of not only keeping him and Selinger in office, but in expanding the NDP's hold on power over the past decade.

Three of the more notables are Alissa Brandt, director of the premier's secretariat; Anna Rothney, secretary of the planning and priorities committee of cabinet; and Jennifer Anthony, director of issues management for the government. All have taken leaves to work for Oswald's campaign.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 23/12/2014 (1428 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

IT wasn't so much what she said, but who was listening at the back of the room.

When NDP leadership hopeful Theresa Oswald walked up to the podium Sunday at the Jonathan Toews (Dakota) Community Centre to declare she wants to lead the New Democrats into the next election, much of what she said sounded carefully choreographed by the same people who just days earlier had done the same work for Premier Greg Selinger and his bruised government.

Some had done the same work for former premier Gary Doer, and shared in the glory of not only keeping him and Selinger in office, but in expanding the NDP's hold on power over the past decade.

Three of the more notables are Alissa Brandt, director of the premier's secretariat; Anna Rothney, secretary of the planning and priorities committee of cabinet; and Jennifer Anthony, director of issues management for the government. All have taken leaves to work for Oswald's campaign.

Oswald is surrounded by government staff members who've worked for her since she was health minister, including Keir Johnson, a senior project manager in the priorities and planning secretariat; Jennifer Faulder, also from issues management; and Michelle Scott, director of the cabinet office.

Oswald has three media handlers in cabinet communications working for her: Jodee Mason is Oswald's full-time press person and Rachel Morgan and Caedmon Malowany are volunteering.

Oswald also has the support of former Doer spokesman Jonathan Hildebrand, now with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, and Rory Henry, former policy secretary to cabinet now at the University of Manitoba.

Most notably, however, Oswald has the support of Michael Balagus, Doer and Selinger's former chief of staff who now works for Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath. He sat quietly behind former minister Jennifer Howard to listen to Oswald explain why she's the best choice to led the governing New Democrats into the next election against Brian Pallister's Progressive Conservatives.

Balagus left government shortly after Selinger and his New Democrats won 37 seats in the 57-seat legislature in the 2011 election, the party's biggest majority since coming to power in 1999.

Balagus is credited with helping to steer the NDP's successful election campaign, using negative ads aimed at then-Progressive Conservative leader Hugh McFadyen.

Why Balagus was at Oswald's leadership campaign kickoff, he wasn't saying on Monday, although he told others he was there out of curiosity while visiting family in the province.

Others have said in deciding to run for the leadership, Oswald sought his advice.

Balagus's replacement, Liam Martin, recently parted company with the government.

In his place, Selinger hired Heather Grant-Jury to the new position of principal secretary, and Paul McKie as deputy principal secretary. Both were seconded from organized labour.

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