Government of Canada to increase Parliament's transparency

All MPs, Senators and Opposition Leaders' Exempt Staff to be subject to Lobbying Act

OTTAWA, Aug. 5 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Stockwell Day, President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, accompanied by Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu, today announced Government of Canada action to further increase transparency in Ottawa by proposing to extend the rules of the Lobbying Act to all members of Parliament, senators and senior staff in the offices of the Leader of the Opposition, both in the House of Commons and the Senate. Under the proposed regulations, these parliamentarians and senior staff personnel would be added to the current list of designated public office holders.

"It is only right that the activities of all those who represent Canadians in Parliament be as open and transparent as possible," said Minister Day. "That is why we are proposing to expand the scope of the Lobbying Act so that all members of Parliament, senators and exempt staff in the offices of the Leader of the Opposition would be subject to the same requirements already placed on ministers, their exempt staff and senior public servants."

With the proposed changes, these individuals would be subject to the prohibitions on lobbying and requirements for reporting by lobbyists set out in the Lobbying Act, which states that:

    
    -   Designated public office holders are prohibited from registering and
        lobbying the Government of Canada for five years after leaving
        office; and

    -   Lobbyists must disclose their lobbying activities to the Office of
        the Commissioner of Lobbying, including contact with designated
        public office holders for the purposes of lobbying. This information
        is publicly available on the website of the Office of the
        Commissioner of Lobbying (https://ocl-cal.gc.ca).
    

"By proposing to expand the scope of the Lobbying Act, our Government is continuing our action to ensure Parliament is accountable to Canadians and not to special interest groups," said Senator Boisvenu.

The proposed regulations will be available on the Canada Gazette website at www.canadagazette.gc.ca on August 7, 2010. Canadians will then have 30 days to submit their comments to the Treasury Board Secretariat. The Government will then finalize the regulations and publish them in the Canada Gazette (Part II).

Under the Lobbying Act, lobbying is communication by an individual who is paid to communicate with a Designated Public Office Holder on behalf of a person or organization in relation to:

    
    -   the development, introduction or amendment of a bill, resolution,
        regulation, policy or program;
    -   the awarding of a grant, contribution or any other financial benefit;
        and
    -   in the case of a consultant lobbyist, the awarding of any contract or
        the arranging of a meeting with a public office holder.

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TTY (Telecommunications device for the hearing impaired) - 613-957-9090

This news release is available online at: www.tbs-sct.gc.ca.

SOURCE Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

For further information: For further information: Mélisa Leclerc, Director of Communications, Office of the President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, 613-952-5051; Media Relations, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, 613-957-2640


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