A who’s who of the B.C. NDP’s past is gathering Oct. 27 to promote the present and future of the governing party’s agenda to lobbyists, just a block away from Premier John Horgan’s Vancouver office.
Ex-Premier Mike Harcourt, his adman Ron Johnson and former finance and health minister Elizabeth Cull are appearing at the Sue Hammell-fronted, Composite Public Affairs’ “Politics, Policies and Priorities: A Conference on B.C.’s New Horgan Government” at the Vancouver Convention Cenre.
Defeated MLA Jodie Wickens and one-term MLA Jane Shin are also speaking, along with members of Horgan’s transition team, Charley Beresford and lawyers Carmela Allevato and Jim Quail. Tickets are $295 apiece.
Missing from the agenda are the original keynote speakers: Energy Minister Michelle Mungall and Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser.
The government initially defended Mungall and Fraser’s involvement to theBreaker, but then the promoters quietly cancelled them after theBreaker’s story in late August.
We will have to wait a little bit longer to get the lowdown. The government told theBreaker on Sept. 29 that it was delaying release of information from Mungall and Fraser’s offices until Nov. 22, pending consultations with a third party or other public body.
Horgan’s office, meanwhile, said Oct. 5 that it would disclose information by Oct. 31 — four days after the event. Hammell’s daughter, Sage Aaron, is, coincidentally, Horgan’s director of communications.
Though Hammell is the public face of Composite, the company was formed by veteran NDP strategist Lori Winstanley and her husband Ed Presutti, and Kristy Fredericks and Will McMartin, who have worked off-and-on with the B.C. Conservatives. They registered the company on June 27, two days before the BC Liberals fell on a confidence vote and Horgan was tapped to become premier.
Winstanley’s name was removed when she was hired as Mungall’s $94,500-a-year top aide when the government was sworn-in July 18. She was Mungall’s fart catcher when the Site C inquiry was announced and later became top aide to Solicitor General Mike Farnworth.
Composite’s contract with B.C. Pavilion Corporation says the room rental and food and beverage service for the event will cost $24,890.25 including taxes.
Another of the speakers is lame duck Vancouver city councillor Andrea Reimer. Reimer won’t run for Vision Vancouver in 2018, ending more than 15 years in civic politics. Hammell invited Reimer in a July 26 email, obtained by theBreaker via freedom of information, to speak on a panel on social, economic and fiscal priorities.
“The target audience will be the business community,” Hammell wrote. “The purposes will be to look at the current government’s direction through speakers and panels.”
Hammell said the capacity will be 250 and they planned to have “a number of cabinet ministers” attend.
“Our intention is to move the issues to where people are talking about the choices this government is making and why.”
Speakers from outside the NDP sphere include LNG lobbyist David Keane, Glacier Media vice-president Kirk LaPointe and Stewart Muir, the executive director of the ResourceWorks pro-industry public relations campaign.