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Political ménage à trois for the ages

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Here’s a political ménage à trois for the ages. It is called “Kool Topp & Guy Public Affairs” and it redefines opportunism.

Yes folks, one of Premier Christy Clark’s fallen angels, disgraced chief adviser Ken Boessenkool, is clawing his way back into the political limelight on the back of NDP Leader Adrian Dix’s most trusted strategist, Brian Topp.

The third man in this marriage of pre-election convenience is Don Guy, a featured speaker at the Liberals’ convention last October and a potential senior strategist for the coming election campaign.

Last September, Boessenkool suddenly resigned as Clark’s right-hand man in the wake of what was described at the time as an “inappropriate incident.” This incident was said to have transpired at the Bard & Banker Scottish Pub on Government Street following a Liberal golf tournament. But, details were sketchy at best as the premier refused to elaborate because she did not want to see people who did nothing wrong undergo an invasion of their privacy.

Topp, a failed candidate in the federal NDP leadership race won by Thomas Mulcair, is a Dix confidante who is running the party’s provincial campaign. Topp defines plugged in.

The announcement Boessenkool sent out states: “Imagine Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Sidney Crosby playing together, all the time. That’s why Brian Topp (the left winger), Don Guy (the centre) and I (the right winger) have teamed up. I am thrilled to announce the launch of Kool Topp & Guy Public Affairs.”

Boessenkool — just “Kool” to you — describes the new lobbying firm’s mantra as “unparalleled longitudinal, vertical and horizontal line-of-sight into public sector decision-making in Canada, and beyond.” Sorry, that’s simply unadulterated horse hockey. The only line-of-sight element in this new firm will be Topp’s unfettered view into the office of the next premier, Adrian Dix.

I assume Boessenkool and Guy are along for the ride because they know how to link Topp with a new client base of deep-pocketed private sector players seeking access to the new NDP administration. Boessenkool says: “Our principals plan, but don’t lobby.” I trust he has the decency to blush.

I wonder if this trinity of consenting bedfellows has the blessing of the NDP leader. I would have thought that Dix would want to distance himself from speculation that a privileged insider will be encouraged to beat a path to his door.

Earlier this month, I enjoyed a couple of frosty Dos Equis in Mexico with my old pal Bill Bell, a former NDP campaign strategist and public affairs consultant who maintains close links with the party. He believes the election of an NDP government will profoundly change the way corporations and advocacy associations communicate with Victoria.

He reminded me that government relations (GR) firms have seen the writing on the wall for many months and some have hired new associates they believe have the right NDP credentials. However, these GR firms have failed to appreciate that “a paradigm shift is coming.”

I agree with Bell when he says that nothing less than a radical rethinking of the public affairs consulting model will suffice. He is assuming that Dix and the new government will take “a supremely dim view of lobbyists who assume their pedigrees give them right of passage into the corridors of power.”

I will not be surprised if, in the coming weeks, Topp announces that he is rethinking this new partnership. M

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