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

Team BC takes on hosts at junior curling nationals tonight

Tyler Tardi and his team have played and won two games in the Canadian championships, so far.

UPDATE: Olympic softball qualifier to be held in Surrey

Tournament is to be held Aug. 25 to Sept. 1

Surrey resident to speak about erasing Alzheimer’s disease stigma

A goal of Dona McMorland is to erase stigma attached to the disease

Vehicle rollover in Surrey

Surrey Fire Service responded to the collision on the 19500-block of 60 Avenue

VIDEO: Three-peat for Semiahmoo at basketball’s Surrey RCMP Classic

South Surrey-based squad tops Lord Tweedsmuir in final at Enver Creek gym

Keep focus on helping Canadians at home, Trudeau tells MPs at start of meeting

Trudeau said the Liberals will offer Canadians hope amid issue like climate change and global tensions

Pettersson returns to lead Canucks to 3-2 win over Red Wings

Vancouver’s super rookie has 2 points in first game back after knee injury

Crash closes Coquihalla southbound lane south of Merritt

Accident occurred approximately 26 kilometres south of Merritt

Skaters stranded in Saint John, NB, amid storm on last day of championships

More than half of the flights out of the city’s airport were cancelled due to the weather

Call for tighter bail rules after Saudi sex-crime suspect vanishes

Mohammed Zuraibi Alzoabi was facing charges related to alleged sexual assault, criminal harassment, assault and forcible confinement of a woman

12 poisoned eagles found on Vancouver Island

Improper disposal of euthanized animal suspected

B.C. resident creates global sport training program

The 20 hour course teaches the science and application of interval training at the university level

B.C. VIEWS: Fact-checking the NDP’s speculation tax on empty homes

Negative-option billing is still legal for governments

Most Read