The Commissioner of Lobbying has continued the partial enforcement
of federal lobbying disclosure rules by finding Keith Beardsley,
former deputy chief of staff for Prime Minister Harper, guilty of
violating the Lobbyists' Code because he lobbied without registering
within 5 years after leaving his job.
However, this ruling highlights just how weak the Lobbying Act is
(compared to the Code), and how weak the enforcement of the law
continues to be by the RCMP and especially the Public Prosecutor
(who makes the decision about whether to charge lobbyists for
failing to register).
Huge loopholes in the Act make it very difficult for prosecutors to
prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the lobbyist intentionally was
paid to lobby and failed to register.
Unfortunately, the House Committee that just reviewed the Act failed
to recommend closing the biggest loopholes (although they made some
good recommendations to strengthen enforcement).
Secret, unethical lobbying of federal politicians and officials will
continue to be effectively legal unless all the loopholes are
closed, and all the Committee's other recommendations are enacted.
P.S. For details about the House Committee report, go to:
Tyler Sommers, Coordinator of Democracy Watch