Leaders are the public faces of their parties, but the teams around them behind the scenes do much of the work in devising and carrying out campaign strategy. Here are some of the most influential figures in each party’s campaign team.
Jeremy Broadhurst, national campaign director
This will be Mr. Broadhurst’s first stint in charge of a national campaign, but he has held several big jobs in the Liberal Party and the current Trudeau government over the past 15 years.
A former chief of staff to Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, he has also worked in the Prime Minister’s Office (deputy chief of staff) and at Liberal Party headquarters (national director). In government, his biggest role came during the renegotiations of the North American free-trade agreement with the American and Mexican governments, including frequent communications with the office of U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
He keeps a low public profile but has gotten to know Liberals from coast to coast, having held positions under every leader since Paul Martin in 2004. In the past election, Mr. Broadhurst was best known for his expertise in amassing and analyzing data from voters. This time around, he will have a role in every part of the campaign, including overseeing the strategy and communications, the ground game and managing the party’s budget.
Katie Telford, senior adviser (tour)
Ms. Telford has been chief of staff to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau since the Liberals formed government in 2015. She is seen as the main driver behind the Trudeau government’s push for gender equality, especially the effort to recruit female candidates with a goal of forming a gender-balanced cabinet.
Ms. Telford was national campaign co-chair and campaign director for the Liberals during the 2015 federal election. She also managed Mr. Trudeau’s successful 2013 Liberal leadership campaign.
Ms. Telford got her start as a political staffer in her early 20s with Dalton McGuinty’s Ontario Liberals. In 2007, she made her way to Parliament Hill, where she joined then-Liberal-leader Stéphane Dion’s office to work on policy. She went on to become Mr. Dion’s deputy chief of staff. When Mr. Dion was replaced by Michael Ignatieff as Liberal leader, Ms. Telford moved back to Toronto to join the lobbying company StrategyCorp.
Gerald Butts, senior adviser (headquarters)
Mr. Butts’s resignation from the Prime Minister’s Office over the SNC-Lavalin affair shook up the government in February, but he has since quietly returned to Mr. Trudeau’s side. He will act as a senior adviser at headquarters in Ottawa, after having spent the past election on the campaign plane.
Mr. Butts and Mr. Trudeau go back to their days at McGill University and have worked hand in hand in building the Liberal Leader’s political career. After the Liberals won the 2015 election, Mr. Butts became principal secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office. Mr. Butts had a hand in all major government files – including navigating through stormy relations with the Trump administration – but did not survive the controversy involving efforts to help SNC-Lavalin avoid a criminal trial on charges of fraud and bribery as part of a remediation agreement. Mr. Butts was not in charge of the file in the PMO, but resigned after taking responsibility for a breakdown in relations with former attorney-general Jody Wilson-Raybould.
Since his resignation, Mr. Butts has adopted a less combative stand on social media and is less visible at public events, but remains at the heart of the Liberal Party’s efforts to win a second mandate for Mr. Trudeau. He is actively involved in developing the platform and advertising campaign, as well as efforts to frame the election as a choice between Mr. Trudeau and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer.
Kate Purchase, chief content strategist
Ms. Purchase, Mr. Trudeau’s top communicator, will be in charge of advertising, debates and platform announcements during the campaign.
Most recently, Ms. Purchase served as the executive director of communications and planning to Mr. Trudeau, where she oversaw everything from the Prime Minister’s image and publicity to vetting social-media posts for his many accounts.
Ms. Purchase was the director of communications for the Liberals in the leadup to the 2015 election and continued in that role on the campaign, overseeing Mr. Trudeau’s messaging. Previously, she worked for former Liberal leaders Bob Rae and Michael Ignatieff.
Hamish Marshall, national campaign manager
Mr. Marshall led Andrew Scheer’s surprise upset in the Conservative leadership race over runner-up Maxime Bernier in 2017. Mr. Marshall was also the brains behind the defeat of a proposed transit tax in Vancouver in 2015. He’s known for relying on data and numbers to shape his campaign strategies.
Those most recent victories follow a deep history with the Conservative Party as a back-room operative. His first major job in Conservative circles dates back to former prime minister Stephen Harper’s office where Mr. Marshall was the manager for strategic planning in 2006 and 2007. Since then, he’s headed up several private companies including Torch Agency and ONE Persuades.
Mr. Marshall was also the subject of controversy in 2017. He was a director of Rebel Media but separated ties with the right-wing online publication after its sympathetic coverage of the neo-Nazi groups protesting in Charlottesville. He has said he was already planning to leave the position before the coverage of the protests and he had no control over the content that was produced.
Dustin Van Vugt, deputy campaign manager (headquarters)
Mr. Van Vugt will be based in the campaign headquarters for the election and has the task of overseeing the day-to-day operations, including the party’s target seats that map a Tory path to victory.
This is the most senior role Mr. Van Vugt has held on a national campaign but he’s a veteran of campaigns at the federal and provincial levels and also in the United States, where he worked on Republican campaigns, including for Arnold Schwarzenegger in California.
Since 2014, he has served at the Conservative Party’s executive director. After the 2015 election loss, he was given the task of touring the country to hear what went wrong from a grassroots perspective and present his findings at the 2016 convention.
Marc-Andre Leclerc, deputy campaign manager (tour)
Mr. Leclerc will be the most senior person on the road with Mr. Scheer throughout the campaign, a position that is also a first for him. He will be responsible for overseeing the tour and advising Mr. Scheer.
Mr. Leclerc has been the leader’s chief of staff since last spring. Before then, he was his deputy chief of staff. He rounds out the senior leadership campaign as a strong organizer of Francophone Conservatives.
Prior to his current roles, he was Mr. Scheer’s Quebec adviser during the leadership race, a position he also held under interim leader Rona Ambrose. Before that post, he was responsible for the party’s Quebec operations.
Kenzi Potter, senior adviser
Ms. Potter has worked side by side with Mr. Scheer since he became speaker of the House of Commons in 2011. Since then, the two have become close friends and colleagues. She will be travelling with the leader throughout the campaign, along with her two-month-old daughter, Georgia.
Ms. Potter first served as Mr. Scheer’s chief of staff, then advised on his leadership campaign and then filled the role of principal secretary. Conservatives compare her tight ties with Mr. Scheer to the relationship that former prime minister Stephen Harper had with senior aide Ray Novak. Ms. Potter is one of the few people who Mr. Scheer trusts to speak for him and so she is also consulted on party policy and communications.
She has worked as a Conservative staffer and on local campaigns since 2006. This is her first time on a national campaign.
New Democratic Party
Jennifer Howard, national campaign manager
Ms. Howard, who became NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s chief of staff in December, is a former Manitoba cabinet minister who was elected in 2007. She wore many hats in the government including as house leader, finance minister and minister of family services and labour. Before that, Ms. Howard was a senior adviser for former Manitoba premier Gary Doer.
Mr. Singh has previously noted that Ms. Howard is well-known in NDP circles for her tenacity and for being one of the “best strategic minds in the business.”
Ms. Howard has served in a number of roles in the party, including at the level of local riding association and on party executives at both the federal and provincial level. Her career began with work in women’s non-profits and as the executive director of a women’s health clinic in Winnipeg.
Michael Balagus, strategic adviser
Mr. Balagus will be leading the war room for the New Democrats during the election.
He is the former chief of staff to Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwarth. He was also appointed as Mr. Singh’s interim chief of staff last fall before Ms. Howard was named in the role.
Mr. Balagus is credited for the work he did on the NDP’s 2018 provincial campaign in Ontario, in which the party became the Official Opposition. He also previously worked in Ottawa for Audrey McLaughlin, a former party leader. He has also served as chief of staff to former Manitoba premiers Greg Selinger and Gary Doer.
Jonathan Dickie, national campaign manager
Mr. Dickie first served as the canvassing co-ordinator on Elizabeth May’s 2008 campaign in the Nova Scoatia riding of Central Nova, where she ran against former Conservative cabinet minister Peter Mackay. Mr. Dickie says he was interested in environmental issues but he was also inspired by the uphill battle that Ms. May faced and the party’s “underdog status.”
In the 2011 federal election campaign, Mr. Dickie was Ms. May’s campaign manager in the B.C. riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands. The race resulted in Ms. May landing a seat in the House of Commons.
Mr. Dickie has also run additional campaigns, including a by-election in Victoria in 2012 and running a provincial campaign the following year.