City of Hamilton hires Gowlings and StrategyCorp to manage Pan Am stadium lobbying

LAST UPDATED 1430 EDT on 22 OCT 10

The City of Hamilton is using a professional lobbying firm to manage its lobbying efforts to secure additional federal funding for the Pan Am stadium which faces a funding shortfall of over $50-million.

The firm representing Hamilton is StrategyCorp. StrategyCorp is one of Ottawa’s most successful lobbying firms with both Conservative and Liberal political insiders on staff.

Interestingly, the contract is not between the City and StrategyCorp.

The Federal Registry of Lobbyists shows the contract between StrategyCorp’s and Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP.

Gowlings is operating as the agent for the City of Hamilton, with lawyer David Estrin listed as the contact at the firm.

Estrin is a partner and senior environmental law specialist at Gowlings who has been acting as the City’s outside lawyer for Pan Am planning and environmental issues.

Estrin previously served as the City’s lawyer during the Red Hill Valley Parkway development.

I’ve emailed City Manager Chris Murray’s office asking both for the cost of the StrategyCorp/Gowling contract and why the city has secured the services of an environmental lawyer.

Dalia El-Farra, Corporate Communications Program Manager in the City Manager’s office, is looking into the questions and I will publish the answers as soon as I receive them.

“The retainer with StrategyCorp is to an upset limit of $25,000,” El-Farra wrote in response to the first question submitted asking for the cost of the contact.

An upset limit means StrategyCorp can bill up to the limit.

The lobbying efforts of StrategyCorp produced three meetings with government officials in September. Two meetings were held separately with Federal Secretary of State (Sport) Gary Lunn and Lunn’s senior special advisor Andre Hannoush. One meeting was held with both Lunn and Hannoush present.

The two separate meetings occurred on September 20, 2010 and the joint meeting was held three days later on the 23rd.

Documents filed for both meetings state the topic of discussion was “infrastructure” and “sport.”

What does the fact these meetings occurred tell us?

Not much beyond that the federal government is hearing Hamilton’s case.

City Manager Chris Murray reported to Council last week that he is optimistic that Hamilton will receive additional support from the two senior levels of government.


1430 EDT 22 Oct 10: Added the upset limit of the StrategyCorp contract as provided by El-Farra.
1430 EDT 22 Oct 10: Added information about David Estrin’s position as Hamilton’s outside lawyer for Pan Am planning and environmental issues. Further noted his experience representing the City during the Red Hill Valley Parkway development.