Veteran political organizer Prem Vinning may not have been on the public payroll when he quit his new job in the premier's office yesterday afternoon. But it seems he was already knee-deep doing electioneering on behalf of the provincial Liberals. As Public Eye and The Indo-Canadian Voice previously reported, Mr. Vinning attended a meeting on December 11, where Gordon Campbell met with Indo-Canadian leaders to discuss improving relations with their community. But it turns out Mr. Vinning, a friend of former finance minister and Liberal re-election committee co-chair Gary Collins, was doing much more than just filling a chair.
According to our spies, the number of Indo-Canadian leaders invited was so large that the meeting had to be split into two sessions - one at 1:00 and the other at 3:00 in the afternoon. Mr. Vinning and former provincial cabinet minister Gulzar Cheema were the only two non-elected officials who attended both meetings, with Mr. Cheema sitting away from the boardroom table.
Attendees noticed that, when it was Mr. Vinning's turn to speak during the first session, he simply said, "I have been out of touch with politics because I have been in the Interior on business" before going silent. And he didn't speak at all during the second session. But Mr. Vinning did take a copious amount of notes on what others were saying - the actions of an operative rather than a participant. Following the meetings, attendees received follow-up calls from Mr. Vinning, asking for their feedback and drumming up support for the premier.
Whether that electioneering continues following yesterday's events remains to be seen.