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Novartis lobbyist worked on NDP health critic's leadership campaign

The Globe and Mail reports that Marcella Munro has registered to lobby New Democratic Party MLAs on behalf of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada, but fails to mention her role in NDP health critic Mike Farnworth's leadership bid.

The story notes Munro is a principal with Earnscliffe Strategy Group and has worked as a communication strategist for the NDP on several federal and provincial campaigns as well as on former NDP MLA Gregor Robertson's successful campaign last year to be mayor of Vancouver.

But she was also, perhaps more significantly, a chief strategist and the main media contact for Mike Farnworth's leadership bid last year. Farnworth was briefly a health minister for the NDP government in 2000, and was named the party's health critic last year after placing second to Adrian Dix in the leadership contest.

Munro has registered to contact Farnworth, as well as deputy health critic Sue Hammell and finance critic Bruce Ralston, on Novartis' behalf.

Also of note, Novartis donated $3,250 to the NDP in 2010, most of it while Carole James was leader. Asked recently about the donation, Dix said he believed it was likely for a table at a fundraising dinner.

Between 2005 and 2010 Novartis donated $17,804 to the BC Liberal Party.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

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