2009 PAAC Annual Conference

The Art and Science of Public Affairs

in Partnership with Campaigns & Elections and the Government Relations Institute of Canada

Conference partners: Bell, Chartered Accountants of Ontario, Telus
Lunch sponsor: Borden Ladner Gervais


Opening Keynote John Tory, Former Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, set the tone for the conference with a from-the-heart look at the state of politics and political engagement in Ontario.

Authentic Crisis Leadership – Lessons learned from cats, kids and cold cuts Dr. Terry Flynn, Assistant Professor, Communications Management, DeGroote School of Business, McMaster University went head-to-head with the first of our cross-border panels; Polling with Daniel Gotoff, Lake Research Partner; Jaideep Murkerji, Vice-President Public Affairs, Angus Reid Strategies; Jim Lee, Susquehanna Polling and Research, Inc. and moderated by John Mraz, Propaganda Inc.

Rachel Napear of Research Management Strategies, LLC presented on Social Media – Best Practices and Finding the Right Metrics and ROI Measurements for your Organizations, while Jason Grier, Hill & Knowlton; PAAC Board Members Stephanie Jones, Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association; and Bernie Morton, Sussex Strategy Group, presented on How to Ensure You Hire the Right Consultant, moderated by John Capobianco, Edelman.

The Award of Distinction Luncheon featured this year’s honoree – Robin Sears of Navigator Ltd., who reflected on his work in public affairs, spanning two decades in a speech that both informed and amused his audience.

Lunch was followed by a multi-media presentation on Communicating Your Message to the Media with Allan Bonner of Allan Bonner Communications Management Inc.

The panel discussion on Role of Government Relations in the Canadian Policy Process featured Tony Dean, Former Secretary of Cabinet, Government of Ontario; Richard Joy, Vice President, Policy and Government Relations, Toronto Board of Trade; Brett James, Principal, Sussex Strategy Group and was moderated by PAAC President, Joe MacDonald of the Downtown Yonge BIA. This session had such overwhelming popularity that it was converted into a Plenary to allow all delegates to participate.

The final two breakout sessions of the day were combined into one plenary session – New Media with Larry Ward, Political Media Inc. and Microtargeting with Alex Lundry, Target Point Consulting and Amy Gershkoff, Changing Targets Media. This session rounded out the day and introduced the Canadian crowd of delegates to the newest strategies being employed south of the border.

Ravi Singh of ElectionMall led off the second day with the US Politics Session which was
moderated by PAAC Director-at-Large, Chris May of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario.The Consuls General of the U.K. and the U.S. to Toronto, Jonathan Dart and Kevin Johnson respectively, provided insight into Diplomats on the Global Public Affairs Stage. Thoughtful discussion questions were provided by the moderator, PAAC Events Chair, Bernie Morton of Sussex Strategy Group.The day’s only concurrent sessions went head-to head –  Recycle and Reuse: How Secondary Research Can Save Your Organization Money While Delivering the Goods, with Paul Burns, Vice-President of the Canadian Gaming Association and Mario Canseco, Vice-President, Public Affairs at Angus Reid Strategies and Winning Political and Public Affairs Battles on the Phone with Kevin Bertram, Distributive Networks; Ryan Hawkins, President, Winding Creek Group and Mike O’Neil, First Contact.Kevin Bertram of Distributive Networks, the architect of the Obama SMS Campaign, gave delegates an inside peek at one of the key components of the President’s winning strategy in 2008 over a Networking Lunch, generously sponsored by Borden Ladner Gervais LLP.

Canadian delegates learned the newest tricks of the trade from south of the border from Joe Slade White of Joe Slade White & Company in the session entitled US Advocacy Campaign Innovations.

The closing plenary New Decade, New Issues? brought three prominent pundits together to reflect and look forward. In the hot seat were Angus Reid, CEO Angus Reid Strategies; Robin Sears, Partner, Strategic Communication, Navigator Ltd.; and Andrew Coyne, National Editor, Maclean’s Magazine and was moderated by PAAC Events Chair, Bernie Morton of Sussex Strategies Group.