#ICYMI: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of #ELXN43

When the results rolled in from Canada’s 2019 federal election, CPRS Vancouver convened a panel of experts to review the campaigns and analyze which strategies worked well, which ones fell a little flat and which ones were just flat-out bad.

On November 20th, panelists Charmaine de Silva (News Director of News 1130), Mario Canseco (President of Research Co.), and Stephen Smart (General Manager of Western Canada, Hill+Knowlton Strategies) engaged in a lively discussion about the lessons learned throughout the election and how they are relevant to communications practitioners.

In case you missed it, here’s a recap of the main discussion points:


Canseco started off the discussion by commenting that in this election, there wasn’t a common issue across Canada that really mattered to people. Smart continued that it seemed really hard for parties to deliver their key messages: nothing was firing up the voters or resonating with them. This is what contributed to uncompelling campaigns, de Silva added.

Social Media

Nowadays, more and more news is analysis and opinion pieces so it’s harder to get a clean message forward; said Smart. Social media is the only way to control the message and make sure it’s delivered to the audience. De Silva agreed that social media is a great way to control the messaging and interact with the voters.

Crisis Management

Of course this election was not short on scandal, but Canseco pointed out the difference between the Liberal and Conservative crisis management tactics: Trudeau had a good attitude, he answered all questions right after the black face issue, whereas Sheer didn’t want to continue to answer questions about same-sex marriage. Smart agreed that Trudeau apologies were effective and authentic, whereas Sheer did not come across as genuine. Apologies work. Authentic answers are more compelling. Candidates should be willing to expose themselves and breakthrough. Be more creative, added de Silva.

From the management of crises and apologies to digital and social content and breaking through the noise, to strategic, powerful and persuasive messaging it was an evening of interesting dialogue.


About the Author

Nicole Alivojvodic is a marketing and communications professional with experience working in both agency and in-house roles. Born and raised in Vancouver, Nicole has a bachelor’s degree in English literature from the University of British Columbia, loves to write, and is especially interested in language, culture and travel.