21 September 2011

Advertising group has Tory, Nalcor ties #nlpoli

MQO, the market research company that released an opinion poll on the second day of the provincial general election, is part of a group of marketing and advertising companies with ties to the provincial Conservatives and Nalcor, the provincial government’s energy company.

M5 is the agency of record for Nalcor, a spokesperson for Nalcor confirmed for SRBP on Tuesday.

Craig Tucker is listed as managing director of M5 on the company’s website.

In 2004, then premier Danny Williams announced Tucker’s appointment to the board of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. Hydro was the predecessor of Nalcor. It appears Tucker left the board when Hydro became Nalcor.

According to a 2005 CBC story, Tucker co-chaired the Conservative’s 2003 election campaign. That CBC story was about a $150,000 contract that M5 landed from the provincial government to promote the $2.0 billion transfer deal with Ottawa signed in January 2005.

M5 has also been an active contributor to the Progressive Conservative party in the province.  From 2003 to 2010, the company gave  $29,200 in political donations to the PC party according to information from the province’s chief electoral officer.

SRBP contacted Karen McCarthy, the media contact on the MQO news release, via Twitter and later e-mail.  McCarthy is president of M5PR and is listed on the M5 website as senior vice-president, communications.

SRBP asked:

Is M5 doing any work currently for Nalcor, the prov gov and/or the PC party. If so, what is it doing?

McCarthy replied:

MQO Research conducted the poll on the NL election over the past weekend independent of any other organization.  The company is a “research force” in the Atlantic Region and feels a responsibility to report on issues of interest to people in the four Atlantic provinces.  The company has done work for many governments, corporations and others throughout the region since its inception.  Whether or not the company currently has projects in play with the organizations you mentioned, I’m unaware.  It’s not something that MQO’s researcher’s would confirm for me due to client confidentiality.  In fact, the same is true for the entire group of m5 companies.  I can speak for the company of which I am President.  m5pr is not doing any work for the PC Party, Nalcor or the Province.

- srbp -