Byrne and Teneycke, Harper's best soldiers, are on both sides of the Manulife/Loblaws' deal

Byrne's lobbying for Loblaws in Ontario helps explain how Galen Weston's cousin was appointed to the board of the LCBO

Byrne and Teneycke, Harper's best soldiers, are on both sides of the Manulife/Loblaws' deal
Jenni Byrne is a former advisor to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and former Principal Secretary to Doug Ford.

This week, the topic of discussion in federal politics is Jenni Byrne, one of Harper’s favourite soldiers and former principal secretary to Doug Ford.

Byrne, who is also Pierre Poilievre’s chief advisor, owns a lobbying firm that works for Loblaws, called Jenni Byrne + Associates. The registry of lobbyists indicates that Jenni Byrne + Associates has at least six lobbyists working on behalf of Loblaws.

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With howls of outrage in the air over Poilievre’s closest advisor working for the billionaire currently starving Canada, while Poilievre blames the carbon tax for skyrocketing food prices, conservative mouthpieces got their counter talking points out quickly. The Sun’s Lorrie Goldstein was quick to spread those talking points - that Jenni Byrne’s lobbying outfit only lobbies for Loblaws in Ontario, and only on files related to booze.

That Byrne only works for Loblaws in Ontario is not the ironclad defense Conservatives are trying to muster. As we reported last month, the Ford government’s obsession with booze sales is largely to benefit big box stores, especially Loblaws. Jenni’s close relationship with Ford, and her paying gig working for Galen Weston, sheds light on how Galen Weston’s first cousin managed to get appointed to the board of directors of the LCBO. From our earlier story:

Also missing from the Jenni Byrne discourse is mention of her lifelong friend, Kory Teneycke, another of Harper’s favourite soldiers, who also worked to help install Doug Ford as premier in Ontario.

As we wrote about last year, Teneycke has a ubiquitous lobbying firm of his own, Rubicon Strategy.

In an earlier story we detailed how Teneycke and his client, Innovative Medicines Canada (which represents virtually all pharma companies in Canada), concocted the shortage of over-the-counter cold and flu meds for children in late 2020 and early 2023, in order to provide cover for Alberta to buy $80M of off-brand Tylenol from Turkey, essentially a donation to Erdogan’s re-election campaign. From our earlier story:

Just a few days before news broke that Bryne is a lobbyist for Loblaws, Canadians from coast to coast were shocked and angered to read about a proposed deal between Loblaws and Manulife that would have Manulife only cover certain specialty prescription drugs from Loblaws-owned pharmacies, which includes Shoppers Drug Mart. These “preferred pharmacy network arrangements” are common in the U.S. private healthcare system.

What has not been addressed in coverage about this deal are its brokers. Harper’s soldiers are on both sides of this corporate collusion - Jenni Byrne’s shop lobbying for Loblaws, and Kory Teneycke’s shop (Rubicon) lobbying for Manulife. Together, they achieved an outcome that’s incredibly beneficial for their clients, and will screw over many Canadians, especially those with chronic conditions and especially rural patients who aren’t close to the Loblaws-owned pharmacy.

Rubicon’s registered lobbyist on the Manulife file is Rubicon’s Executive VP, Don Newman, a retired senior parliamentary editor for CBC who hosted CBC News: Politics for CBC Newsworld.

Like his friend, Jenni, Kory is often featured as a pundit on Canadian TV and radio, and most often labeled as a “political strategist”, which is true. What is never mentioned by “news” outlets when featuring guests like Kory and Jenni is the conflict of interest inherent in presenting their viewpoints and perspectives without declaring the corporate entities who have paid them to be there, or which companies pay them to deliver business results.

If you missed the earlier stories referenced here, they are all available for free in the back catalogue of Corruptario, found here.

Corruptario by Jordan Roberts & Friends is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.