A dozen TransLink Mayors’ Council members and their executive director spent $46,000 on last month’s lobbying trip to Ottawa.
But the Mayors’ Council is already plotting at least one return to the nation’s capital this fall to continue the quest for billions of federal taxpayer dollars to expand TransLink.
“Being present in Ottawa during the traditional pre-budget period will be important to ensuring our asks are heard and pressure for action felt,” said a report to Thursday’s council meeting.
The report said between May 15 and 17, the delegation met with 22 members of Parliament, including Infrastructure Minister Dominic LeBlanc and his parliamentary secretary Jennifer O’Connell, Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre and six other Conservative MPs, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and two other NDP MPs, and B.C. Liberal caucus chair Taleeb Noormohamed and seven other Liberal MPs. They also met with the chief of staff to Transportation Minister Omar Alghabra.
The Mayors’ Council hosted a Parliament Hill reception for eight MPs, staff from the prime minister and finance minister’s offices, and representatives of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and Canadian Urban Transit Association.
The cost of the Metro Vancouver Transit Days in Ottawa was $45,857. It’s part of a $500,000 campaign coordinated by contracted lobbying outfit Earnscliffe Strategies.
The council’s executive director Mike Buda had previously declined to disclose the budget for the trip.
“At least one and likely two more trips to Ottawa are proposed in fall 2023 to leverage Ottawa’s focus on the fall economic statement (usually released at the end of October) and the pre-budget consultation period (late-September to February),” the report said.
Port Coquitlam Mayor and Mayors’ Council chair Brad West led the delegation, with mayors of Anmore, Burnaby, Langley Township, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, North Vancouver City, North Vancouver District, Pitt Meadows, Port Moody and Richmond. Delta was represented by Coun. Dylan Kruger, instead of Mayor George Harvie.
Kruger also works as a senior associate with the Kirk and Co. communications and government relations firm, whose website lists TransLink among its clients.
The delegation went to Parliament Hill with a long wish list for help in funding TransLink’s $21 billion, long-term plan. That includes doubling bus service, matching SeaBus with SkyTrain service hours, building a bus rapid transit system, expanding SkyTrain to the University of B.C., planning for Metrotown to North Shore rapid transit, and building a gondola up Burnaby Mountain.