Tracadie pays nearly $50,000 to consultants close to the Conservative government

The services of consultants Éric Pelletier, a partner at Prospectus Associates and former assistant to a minister in Bernard Lord’s government, and Diane Carey, a former Progressive Conservative candidate in Tracadie-Sheila, have been retained.

Diane Carey was the Progressive Conservative Party candidate in Tracadie-Sheila in 2020. She is here accompanied by Premier Blaine Higgs and two former candidates, Jean-Gérard Chiasson and Kevin Haché.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Rose St-Pierre

It’s a bit shockingsays Liberal MP for Tracadie-Sheila, Keith Chiasson.

We notice that these are people who have links with the Conservative Partyhe laments. It sounds like old politics and erodes public confidence in the government system.

political color is not a prerequisite

The mayor of Tracadie, Denis Losier, assures that the political color has nothing to do with the choice of the lobbyist and the consultant.

Tracadie Mayor Denis Losier says political color has nothing to do with hiring professionals to advance municipal issues.

Photo: Radio-Canada / René Landry

I believe that we have demonstrated in the past that we have been able to work with the Liberal Party, the Conservative Partyhe says. I think these consultants work with all political colors. It was not a prerequisite for hiring them. We wanted to find competent people.

However, Mayor Losier is aware of what he calls the line of communication with the provincial government.

He recalls that when he was elected as mayor the first time, in 2016, the local deputy was from the same political party as the government. Liberal Serge Rousselle represented Tracadie-Sheila, while the premier was Brian Gallant.

Tracadie Mayor Denis Losier wants there to be a good “line of communication” between his municipality and the provincial government.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Jonathan Villeneuve

Deputy Chiasson is now in opposition since the Progressive Conservative Party forms the government.

We know that our local MP is the critic of local governance [le ministère de Daniel Allain, responsable des municipalités]adds Mayor Losier. It is certain that to attack the government or to raise negative with the government I imagine that it does not bring a better line of communication.

These are arguments that MP Keith Chiasson rejects out of hand.

No matter the color, we are colleagues. »

A quote from Keith Chiasson, Liberal MP for Tracadie-Sheila

The Liberal MP for Tracadie-Sheila, Keith Chiasson, denounces the hiring of these professionals who have close ties with the Progressive Conservative Party.

Photo: Radio Canada

There is still a collaborative work that is done if a group wants to meet a ministerhe argues. Me, it often happened to me to go see a minister to organize a meeting. Such a meeting was never refused to me even if the files were hot. When you are appointed minister, you are minister for the province, you are no longer just the representative of a constituency.

A rare practice

It is far from common practice for a municipality, a creation of the provincial government, to hire a lobbyist to try to advance its files with the latter.

Roger Doiron, a former mayor of Richibucto who chaired the AFMB, assures that he has never heard of a French-speaking municipality that has hired lobbyists.

Photo: Radio Canada

Roger Doiron was mayor of Richibucto for 11 years and president of the Association francophone des municipalités du Nouveau-Brunswick until 2016.

He had never heard of such a practice in the province’s French-speaking municipalities.

However, I had several contacts with many mayors from different regions of the province, but no one mentioned that they had hired lobbyists. »

A quote from Roger Doiron, former president of the Association francophone des municipalités du N.-B.

I think it’s not a practice at allhe decides.

An exceptional situation

The mayor of Tracadie affirms that his municipality experienced an exceptional situation, after the resignation of its director general, in June 2021. The city has struggled to find a replacement. A new administrator has been in office since last January.

We had to make sure that our cases moved forward. We bet on all possible options for the advancement of the Regional Municipality of Tracadie. »

A quote from Denis Loiser, Mayor of Tracadie

We were able to make a particular decision in an extraordinary situation, several months without a general manager.he said. We needed a bridge between the decisions of the council and the officials of the province in different departments so that the files could continue and that we could have the right information.

Denis Losier considers that the municipality got its money’s worth with the work of the lobbyist and the consultant and that several files were thus able to move forward despite the prolonged absence of a director general.

He cites, for example, the record of responsibility for the management of the many roads that have become part of the city since the municipal amalgamation with the neighboring Local Service Districts.

He indicates that negotiations are still ongoing between the municipality and the province as to whether the city or the provincial government will be responsible for the maintenance of these roads.

The road management file in Tracadie is still not settled. “Negotiations are still underway with the province,” said the mayor, Denis Loiser.

Photo: Radio-Canada / René Landry

In the roads file, we needed to obtain a lot of information, to collect the data, to compile the files, to get the right informationexplains the mayor. There was some work done between the people hired, the consultants, and the provincial officials.

The professionals hired by Tracadie also worked on several other files, according to the mayor.

Whether it’s Tracadie Bay, the main street phase two file, a land use permit in neighborhood two, follow-ups with certain sections of roads for which we wanted to change the name, there has lots of fileshe mentions.

He adds that the lobbyist and the consultant have prepared the holding of meetings or meetings between the mayor or other elected officials of Tracadie and ministers.

The bills

In June 2021, Tracadie awarded a $20,000 contract to the firm Associates Prospectusheadquartered in Ottawa, to conduct government relations.

But that amount more than doubled in the space of a few weeks, from $20,000 to almost $50,000. The name of the Ontario firm does not appear on the invoices, of which Radio-Canada obtained copies under the Act respecting the right to information and the protection of privacy.

Mayor Losier points out that the contract has been approved by elected officials.

Don’t forget that it was a monthly bill. Therefore, at any time, the council could have ceased operations. »

A quote from Denis Losier, Mayor of Tracadie

The general manager, Roger Robichaud, indicates that the money was paid to a numbered company at the request of lobbyist Éric Pelletier.

Mr. Pelletier does not intend to comment. For reasons of confidentiality, I do not comment on the files of my clients.he replied by email.

Consultant Diane Carey assures that she or her company did not obtain a contract from the municipality of Tracadie. She explains that she worked in support of the lobbyist. She preferred not to comment further.

Prospectus Associate, which describes itself as one of Canada’s largest full-service public affairs consulting firmsdid not call us back or respond to our emails.

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