With news that former Harper government cabinet minister Stockwell Day has set up shop as a government relations consultant — but not a lobbyist, he assures us — several readers suggested I contact Lobbying Commissioner Karen Shepherd to see if she was down with the arrangement.
After all, the Federal Accountability Act strictly prohibits former public office holders from lobbying for five years after leaving government.
Day says he got the green light from the Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson, but her office punted my questions to Shepherd, by email telling me that…
What you’re referring to falls under the Lobbying. Act – you should contact Nathalie (sic) in the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying.
Shepherd, it is worth noting, is notoriously mute on these kinds of issues. In my experience, her staff invariable use the Privacy Act to trump the public’s right to know about the conduct of people paid to influence our elected officials. But, that’s my personal bugaboo.
Surely on a matter like this, which begs clarification of the distinction between “government relations” consulting and lobbying under the FAA, we could expect some response, right?
Er, no. I asked her comms person for something, anything, about Day’s new company. Here’s the response:
The Commissioner of Lobbying’s mandate is stated clearly in the Lobbying Act. She is responsible for administering the Act and the Lobbyists’ Code of Conduct.
The Lobbying Act imposes a five-year prohibition on former designated public officers to engage in lobbying activities as defined by the Act. Former designated public office holders are prohibited from organizing a meeting or communicating, for payment, with a federal public office holder regarding certain subject as defined by the Act.
The Commissioner will not comment on specific individuals.
Senior Communications Advisor | Conseillère principale en communications
Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada | Commissariat au lobbying du Canada
255 Albert Street, Ottawa ON K1A 0R5 | 255, rue Albert, Ottawa ON K1A 0R5
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