City Hires Gowlings and StrategyCorp to Manage Pan Am Stadium Lobbying

By Joey Coleman
Published October 22, 2010

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.

Editor's Note: this is a developing story. Visit Joey's personal website for the full story and any additional developments.

Joey Coleman covers Hamilton Civic Affairs.

Read more of his work at The Public Record, or follow him on Twitter @JoeyColeman.


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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted October 22, 2010 at 13:20:12

Wait, so the government is hiring a lobbyist to lobby....the government?

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted October 22, 2010 at 14:13:50

Wasn't there just a major flap about this very thing???? Its just another example of our city hall not being in touch and stepping into another pile of dung that is sure to follow. This cannot be helpful to any of the incumbents on the eve of the election

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted October 22, 2010 at 19:41:55

Is this any less ridiculous than the antics of David Estrin and Gowlings (which was, if it isn't still, Canada's largest law firm) during Red Hill?

  • Suing the federal government for attempting to have the Expressway undergo an environmental assessment. Over a million in legal bills (to Gowlings) and nothing to show for it.
  • Pressing contempt of court charges against protesters a year after the end of the protests, seeking huge piles of cash in damages from a pile of money from a bunch of individuals with no assets whatsoever? No costs were recouped, and the only real outcome was that 7 people weren't allowed near the valley for half a decade, after fighting to save it. -Hiring Christine Silverberg, former Calgary Police Chief, as a consultant on issues of "aboriginal protest violence" (something that never happened), for $50-60 000 for several weeks of employment and nothing to show for it. Those of us who protested were quite surprised to hear this, since she'd had no contact whatsoever with any of us. -Extensive secrecy surrounding all of this, as well as the project
  • Secretly hiring lobbyists years before construction began.

Throughout all of Red Hill, or in fact, all activism I've ever been a part of in this city, I'm not sure I've ever encountered someone as greedy or vengeful, or with less respect for democracy - and I include the police in that statement. The man bills million after millions, wins awards and writes books on "environmental law for business", but when faced with any kind of opposition he just goes straight for the throat in ways which are generally nearly hopeless legally, and enormously expensive (meaning we pay him). His involvement does not bode well for the stadium project.

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By Enterprise (registered) | Posted October 22, 2010 at 20:13:11

Yep...our tax $$ at work lining the pockets of consultants to get more of our tax $$. Sadly, lobbying works but at great expense to the little guys. Our system of gov is convoluted &needlessly complicated &expensive.

If the city hired fundraisers to raise $ from the private sector (say for example, Fox40) I would be ok with that.

Lobbyists & consultants add no value to society, no real contribution. Just more insider costs.

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By cityfan (registered) | Posted October 23, 2010 at 09:46:35

Looking for private sector money? Look no further than the Law Firms. They got all the money!

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted October 23, 2010 at 15:20:07

Lobbyists & consultants add no value to society, no real contribution. Just more insider costs.

There's a serious delusion going around that somehow federal funding isn't coming from taxpayers, that it isn't coming at the cost of other programs, and that spending huge amounts of municipal government time and money going after it also doesn't cost us anything.

I don't care what department they're with or what level they're at. As a taxpayer, the notion of the government spending millions to sue and lobby the government is nothing but paying lawyers and politicians to chase their own tails. Especially when the same person is coordinating the lawsuit and lobbying.

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