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Vancouver Mayor-elect Ken Sim speaks during a news conference in Vancouver on Oct. 17.DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

New mayors in some key British Columbia cities have been on the receiving end of a charm offensive from the federal government as Ottawa seeks to indicate it is ready to do business on issues such as housing.

There have been no specific deals or agreements. A spokesperson for Vancouver’s new mayor, Ken Sim, said he and his team would prefer not to meet Prime Minister Justin Trudeau yet because they are fine-tuning their plans for various issues.

But Kareem Allam, campaign manager for Mr. Sim and his ABC slate of candidates, said the mayor-elect relished a telephone conversation with Mr. Trudeau.

“The Prime Minister has reached out to Ken and had a pretty friendly chat. We were really blown away by his kind words,” Mr. Allam said in an interview.

Mr. Trudeau, who was in the Lower Mainland for two days in the past week, has also called the newly-elected mayors of Surrey – B.C.’s second-most populous city – and the provincial capital of Victoria, who are both waiting to be sworn in. And federal ministers have reached out in person and in other ways to introduce themselves.

Federal Housing Minister Ahmed Hussen said he called Mr. Sim, and plans to call Surrey’s new mayor, Brenda Locke and Victoria’s mayor-elect, Marianne Alto.

He said he told Mr. Sim he can count on the federal government’s partnership in housing, citing, for example, the federal Housing Accelerator Fund, which is aimed at helping municipalities to build more housing faster.

And Mr. Hussen said he and the mayor talked, to a point, about increasing the general supply of housing and affordable housing.

“But we didn’t go beyond that. As you can appreciate, he’s a new mayor,” Mr. Hussen said.

Mr. Allam described a get-acquainted phase between Ottawa and Vancouver.

“It’s really just making introductions. The federal government was just wanting to show they were aware of Vancouver, the things that were going on. ‘Here’s our number and when things are settled, and you’re into your role, let’s connect,’ ” he said.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino met with Mr. Sim last Friday. And Infrastructure Minister Dominic LeBlanc said, in a statement, he looks forward to working with the new Vancouver mayor on city priorities, including building transit.

Mr. Sim, a businessman, previously ran for the mayoralty in 2018, but lost to former NDP MP Kennedy Stewart, who he defeated this month. He is the first Chinese-Canadian mayor of Vancouver. His new centre-right ABC Vancouver party won seven of 10 council seats.

Mr. Sim’s agenda includes hiring 100 new police officers and 100 psychiatric nurses, reflecting a campaign appeal that included pitches to deal with public safety. But Mr. Sim is also seeking to deal with issues around housing, climate change and extending the SkyTrain LRT system to the main campus of the University of B.C., on Vancouver’s west side.

Mr. Allam also said members of Mr. Sim’s team were to talk to Mary Ng, the federal minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade about various issues, including challenges small businesses in Vancouver’s Chinatown neighbourhood have faced. “We’re really concerned about the viability of Chinatown,” Mr. Allam said.

Ottawa is key to the Sim agenda, he said. “We can’t proceed without a very strong relationship with Ottawa. The problems Vancouver has are too big for Vancouver to solve by itself.”

In return Mr. Allam said Mr. Sim offers Ottawa certainty with a “supermajority” on council of the mayor’s vote, and seven votes from elected members of Mr. Sim’s slate.

“When they decide they want to move on investments, and it’s an investment we deem necessary, there will be little to no uncertainty in terms of our ability as a city to push the approvals through,” he said.

The government describes a due-diligence effort to connect with the leadership in the cities where many British Columbians live.

In a statement, Cecely Roy of the Prime Minister’s Office, who noted that Mr. Trudeau has also spoken to Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley about the death of an RCMP officer in the city east of Vancouver, said the outreach is consistent with efforts by the government to work with municipal partners to deliver for Canadians across the province and the country.

But others see a political dimension.

Political scientist Gerald Baier said there are likely varied dimensions to the Liberal outreach.

In an interview, the UBC academic said the Liberals are likely making a strong appeal to voters in seat-rich Lower Mainland, and on Vancouver Island ahead of the eventual next federal election.

“We’re in a permanent campaign now,” said Prof. Baier. “They’re laying the groundwork for making a strong case to British Columbia because, apart from Ontario and Quebec, that’s the third biggest pool of seats. They realize the road to a majority government is to limit NDP growth in this province and certainly limit Conservative growth.”

The office of federal Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre, the leader of the Official Opposition, did not respond to a Globe and Mail request for comment on the issue.

A statement from federal NDP spokesperson Mélanie Richer said the party is looking forward to working with all municipal governments in B.C. to make life more affordable for British Columbians, and for a fairer and greener society.

“Even if we won’t always agree on the approach, we all want the best for British Columbia and we are ready to work together to achieve that goal,” she said.

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