2006 Fowler Election Platform – Lobbying

by

as originally posted on my Election Website

“a recognized legal expert in the field” [1]
“Lawyer Guy Giorno, once an aide to former premier Mike Harris” [1]
Guy Giorno is a partner at Fasken Martineau and co-author of the legal text Lobbying in Canada. [2]

“At present only municipal lobbyists in the province of Quebec are subject to registration and regulation.” [2]

The new City of Toronto Act received third reading and royal assent in the legislature on 2006/06/12 but will not take effect until 2007/01/01. [3]

“One of the most welcome features of the ”Stronger City of Toronto for a Stronger Ontario Act” is that it empowers Toronto to control the conduct of municipal lobbyists.” [2] BUT the legislation “does not give Toronto clear authority to restrict lobbyists’ involvement in political fundraising.” [2]

“Hopefully the same authority will soon be conferred on all Ontario municipalities.” [2]

“key issues raised in the report by Madam Justice Denise Bellamy on the citys’ scandalous computer-leasing deal with MFP Financial Services Ltd., which saw Toronto spend twice as much as the initial $43-million price tag.” [1]

“Judge Bellamy formed her recommendations after hearing from 156 witnesses over 214 hearing days and reviewing more than 124,000 pages of documents. These were not idle musings; they were the considered advice of an eminent jurist based on extensive evidence.” [2]

“Particularly problematic for Judge Bellamy was the practice of “bundling,” in which figures such as lobbyist Jeffrey Lyons collected corporate donations and delivered them to a favoured candidate.” [1]

“Particularly offensive was the practice of ”bundling” — where a lobbyist assembles cheques from several contributors and presents them all to a politician to demonstrate the lobbyist’s fundraising clout.” [2]

“Madam Justice Denise Bellamy heard extensive evidence about lobbyists who sought to influence political decision-makers by collecting political contributions on the politicians’ behalf.” [2]

Bundling “is improper influence. It is an attempt to buy a favourable impression and even favourable treatment.” [2]

“The new City of Toronto Act is weakened by a serious omission: the new law would prevent the city from cracking down on influence peddlers who try to combine lobbying and political fundraising.” [2]

“The solution, according to Judge Bellamy, is to prohibit lobbyists from having any involvement in political fund-raising, other than to make their own contributions.” [2]

“When the City of Toronto Act was considered in committee, New Democrat Peter Tabuns proposed an amendment that would allow Toronto to ”prohibit persons who lobby a public office holder from engaging in fundraising activities on [the public office holder’s] behalf” … Disappointingly, the government used its majority to reject the Tabuns amendment.” [2]

“Even assuming that political fundraising is a constitutional right, it can be made subject to reasonable limits. There exists no unfettered constitutional right to lobby a politician for whom one is fundraising. Nor is there an unrestricted constitutional right to fundraise for a politician whom one is lobbying.” [2]

“The new powers allow the city to set up a mandatory lobbyist registry.” [3]

“Mr. Giorno also criticized the city’s plans for a new mandatory lobbyist registry, which as currently worded would exempt not-for-profit groups, even when their lobbyists are paid.” [1]

New Brunswick’s Bernard Lord government wants to restrict “political donations by municipalities, health authorities, education councils (school boards) and other publicly funded institutions.” [5]

“Premier Lord’s proposed ban on contributions by public institutions is laudable. It is a sensible reform that Ontario’s legislature would do well to copy.” [5]

“The only corporations specifically prohibited from making Ontario political contributions are charities. Non-profit corporations, or corporations without share capital, face no legislative prohibition.” [5]

“In Ontario, tax-funded public bodies do make political contributions. It happened when the provincial Conservatives were in office, and now it’s happening under the Liberals. While we’re not talking about particularly large amounts, the diversion of tax dollars otherwise intended for education or health care is troubling on any scale.” [5]

“Appearing on Liberal contribution lists” … “a $300 donation from the Town of Haileybury to the Liberals in Timiskaming-Cocharane; $205 given by a local hospital to the Liberal riding association in Eglinton-Lawrence and $234 from a CEGEP in Jonquiere, Quebec, to the Ottawa-Vanier Liberal Association” … “The City of Cornwall, the County of Northumberland and the Ontario Public School Boards Association (whose members are taxpayer-supported school boards)” … “$1,260 from a French-language Catholic school board in northern Ontario, $1,900 from a prominent hospital and $1,400 from the Ontario College of Teachers, the statutorily-created regulatory body to which every teacher must belong” … “the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development” … “Tourism Toronto, the Stratford Festival of Canada and Trees Foundation Ontario” [5]

“There is nothing in provincial legislation to prevent them. Hospitals and municipalities can lawfully donate to political parties and apparently they do. Ontario legislation permits individuals, trade unions and corporations to make political contributions, and municipalities and hospitals are corporations.” [5]

“Contributions by interest groups raise another series of questions. Lobby groups that are incorporated are permitted to contribute in their own names, but unincorporated lobbies cannot. Significantly, the donor records of all parties are replete with references to contributors that call themselves an ”Association.” Are all these lobby groups incorporated entities? They must be, otherwise they could not have made donations. Each recipient is legally obliged to satisfy itself that a contribution is permissible.” [5]

“Under almost every election finance law in the country, it is already illegal for a parent to give money to a child to enable the child to make a political contribution.” [5]

Contrary to Madam Justice Denise Bellamy’s call for “a lifetime ban on city politicians retiring to work as municipal lobbyists,” a Toronto committee is simply recommending “a one-year cooling-off period.” [6]

John Matsui is “a Liberal” and “a lobbyist for the lawn-care industry” who launched the http://www.londonproperty rights.ca website “with the support and funding of a few ”like-minded” people, including the lawn-care industry.” [4]

“Matsui said the website’s focus on pesticides ”ill evolve” to include other issues as the election nears.” [4]

To see the percentage of their campaign contributions that incumbents received from business entities in the last election, CLICK HERE.

London’s Urban League has requested that candidates disclose contributions prior to election day. READ MORE

sources:

[1] “Proposed lobbyist crackdown falls short”; Jeff Gray; Toronto Globe & Mail; 2006/09/07

[2] “Act needs to be stronger to curb lobbyists at City Hall”; Guy W. Giorno; National Post; 2006/06/12

[3] “MPPs give the city some tools to shape its future”; Jennifer Lewington & Jeff Gray; Globe and Mail; 2006/06/13

[4] “Brewing electoral brawl spawned by pesticide battle”; Joe Belanger; London Free Press; 2006/04/25

[5] “Tax-funded partisanship”; Guy W. Giorno; National Post; 2006/06/28

[6] “Council committee backs rigid registry for city hall lobbyists”; Jennifer Lewington; Toronto Globe & Mail; 2006/09/19

see also re Bellamy:

Bellamy Report, Fact & Findings

Bellamy Report, Good Government

Bellamy Report, Inquiry Process

Bellamy Report, Executive Summary

http://www.torontoinquiry.ca/lirp/pdf/Closing_Speech_12.09.05.pdf

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