City of Surrey says consulting contracts are not to lobby government

The City of Surrey says it's not lobbying the federal government through a $28,800 contract with Concise Consulting Ltd.

  • Feb. 11, 2016 11:00 a.m.

A spokesman for Mayor Linda Hepner (pictured) said Surrey has hired Concise Consulting Ltd. on a six-month

Amy Reid and Tom Zytaruk, Surrey Now

SURREY — The City of Surrey says it’s not lobbying the federal government through a $28,800 contract with Concise Consulting Ltd.

The company is reportedly owned by Prem Vinning, who could not be reached for comment.

Vinning is well-known in Liberal circles as a party power-broker who had hoped, albeit unsuccessfully, to secure a Senate seat under under former Liberal prime minister Jean Chretien.

In the 1990s he was a Liberal MP candidate in the former Surrey-North riding.

Both of Vinning’s sons have found jobs as ministerial aides in Ottawa since the election. Manjeet Vinning, 28, was named senior special assistant to Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan. Gurpreet Vinning, 30, was named policy adviser and special assistant for western and northern Canada for Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi, the lead minister responsible for doling out billions in infrastructure spending.

According to the city, the six-month contract with Concise Consulting, beginning Feb. 1, is to “review city plans with a view to identify any alignment with federal and provincial priorities” in areas such as climate adaption, sustainability and poverty reduction.

In an email, the City of Surrey claims no one with the firm will be meeting with any politicians, ministerial staff or senior bureaucrats on behalf of the city, adding Concise Consulting is not “carrying our message to Ottawa.”

Critics have questioned the move.

“The obvious is question is: What on earth are politicians doing hiring lobbyists to lobby other politicians? Isn’t lobbying other politicians part of their job?” asked Aaron Wudrick, federal director with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

The city says that’s not the case here, and that Mayor Linda Hepner has met with all the local MPs and senior federal ministers and “will continue to do so.”

Meanwhile, the city has entered into a $21,700 contract with Earnscliffe Strategy Group for “strategic communications support for Surrey Light Rail Transit.”

The city said this contract does not include lobbying.

Earnscliffe Strategy Group’s website says the company’s work includes “government relations, public policy analysis, strategic communications and opinion and market research.”

The scope of work for that contract, according to the city, is to “review and find alignment” with the federal government’s priorities on infrastructure investment, create a “key contract list,” and develop messaging strategies.

The city says both of the contracts were secured by means that are consistent with its purchase policies: “Contracts that fall under the $75,000 threshold are not required to go out to tender.”

amy.reid@thenownewspaper.com

-With files from the Vancouver Sun

Just Posted

Surrey mayor appoints Terry Waterhouse to oversee policing transition

Waterhouse was hired by the previous Surrey First slate as the city’s first-ever Director of Public Safety Strategies

Surrey councillor defends SOGI 123 stance after resigning from AutismBC

Laurie Guerra stands by her opposition to SOGI 123 resource as backlash over meeting comes to a head

PHOTOS: Hockey history in Surrey as Team India comes to play

Squad played its very first game in Canada on Tuesday against Surrey Falcons

Proposed coal project for Fraser Surrey Docks back in court

It could be months before the federal appeal court renders a decision

Minor injuries for firefighter struck outside South Surrey fire hall

Minor injuries for firefighter struck outside South Surrey fire hall

Calgarians vote ‘no’ to bidding for 2026 Winter Games, in plebiscite

Out of 767,734 eligible voters, 304,774 voted and 171,750 said ”no.”

Canada wants free trade deal with southeast Asian nations, Trudeau says

ASEAN nations combined have nearly 650 million people, an economy of US$2.8 trillion, and are already Canada’s sixth-biggest trading partner.

Olympic and Paralympic committees disappointed, but respectful of Calgary’s vote

The majority of voters said ‘no’ to a potential Calgary bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games.

Wildfire death toll rises in California as search for missing continues

Authorities reported six more fatalities from the Northern California blaze, bringing the total number of dead so far to 48.

B.C. MLAs urge Trudeau to call byelection immediately in Burnaby-South

Four NDP provincial politicians from British Columbia are urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to immediately call a byelection in the federal riding of Burnaby-South.

Provincial housing boss brought home more than $350,000 in 2017-18

BC Housing develops, manages and administers a wide range of subsidized housing options

Prince Charles turns 70 with party, new family photos

Charles is due to have tea on Wednesday with a group of people who are also turning 70 this year

Kuhnhackl scores 2 odd goals as Isles dump Canucks 5-2

Vancouver drops second game in two nights

Fear of constitutional crisis escalates in U.S.; Canadians can relate

Some say President Donald Trump is leading the U.S. towards a crisis

Most Read