Lobbying Commissioner mute on Stockwell Day’s new gig

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.
Natalie Hall
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
Telephone | Téléphone 613-952-4306
Cell | Sans-fil 613-875-2579
Facsimile | Télécopieur 613-957-3078


6 thoughts on “Lobbying Commissioner mute on Stockwell Day’s new gig

  1. There are no rules or ethics for these people – they are simply above everyone. Canadians are happy with this apparently – the election of these clowns has so lowered the bar for politicians in Canada that we see the quality of our democracy deteriorating rapidly and they will simply continue with their policy of not answering questionss or the press when they please. Too bad all of the press endorsed them.

  2. Ethics and principals have been leaking out of our politics for a number of years now. Mr. Harper has been able to make a science out of by re-inventing the English language. If he says it enough times people believe as was shown in the past election. Nobody seemed to care about details which made the 30 second sound bytes effective. This absence of detail continues and the many of the electorate don’t appear to be overly concerned with this. I am because as the saying goes “the devil is in the details”. Mr. Harper has been able to create a nice cone of silence in Ottawa and it is disgusting how he’s using this to erode democracy.

  3. It is very concerning that the Lobbying Commissioner did not clarify. Lobbyists complained about her due to her lack of transparency during the 41st election. And I myself was threatened with a libel suit by Guy Giorno shortly after the election for expressing confusion and mild digust regarding his role as Harper’s Campaign Chair in light of his status as DPOH. This situation cannot stand. Any member of Parliament can raise this issue transparency with the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner making it’s subject the Lobbying Commissioner herself and it’s time to ask Bob Rae, Elizabeth May and Jack Layton when that’s going to happen.

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