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.”

-With files from the Vancouver Sun

Just Posted

Sisters, sexual abuse and one Surrey family’s bond in new movie ‘Because We Are Girls’

Cloverdale’s Jeeti Pooni led effort to create the documentary, set to debut at festivals

Surrey Historical Society holds ‘memory social’ Sunday

Gathering will be a chance to offer, share stories

Drowning victim fondly remembered

Immigration consultant Jay Atienza Razon, who worked out of Newton, drowned in a kayaking accident March 29

Khan Michael Bourne, of Sechelt, shot dead in Surrey

Police say Bourne was found laying on the ground, with gunshot wounds

VIDEO: Surrey RCMP investigating after ‘sudden death’ of man found with critical injuries

Police say a man is dead after being found laying on the ground in the 13300-block of 114th Avenue

VIDEO: Driver in bizarre hit-and-run at B.C. car dealership turns herself in

Police believe alcohol was a factor in incident causing estimated $15,000 in damages

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

B.C. woman, 76, challenges alcohol-screening laws after failing to give breath sample

Norma McLeod was unable to provide a sample because of her medical conditions

New report on 2017 wildfires calls for better coordination with B.C. First Nations

Tsilhqot’in National Government documents 2017 disaster and lists 33 calls to action

B.C. youth coach banned amid sexual harassment, bullying scandal: Water Polo Canada

Justin Mitchell can’t take part in Water Polo Canada events or clubs

Wilson-Raybould: Feds want to just ‘manage the problem’ of Indigenous Peoples

Former federal justice minister speaks at First Nations Justice Council meeting in B.C.

Female real estate agents warned of suspicious man in Metro Vancouver

The man requests to see homes alone with the female agent, police say

Can you put your phone down for Mother’s Day?

#DiningMode campaign encourages people to leave the phone alone while eating

Most Read