2 February 2011

Lobbying is very big business in many jurisdictions. The corrosive effects mobilise numerous NGOs. In the US a blog writer at the Sunlight Foundation has looked to Canada as an examplar of the transparency needed to minimise corrupting influences:

“..a robust and effective Canadian law shines bright light on the details of lobbying meetings. … Each month in Canada, details (dates, participants and topics) of lobbyists’ meetings with Members of Parliament, Senators, senior government officials and political aides are reported and posted online. … Canadian law makes the people doing the lobbying, not the officials being lobbied, responsible for reporting the meetings. … When employees of a company lobby government officials, the corporate CEO is the one who must report on the meetings. It is a duty that the CEO cannot delegate to underlings. A corporate director who lobbies elected politicians or senior officials must file a separate report for each and every meeting. Again, only the director can make the disclosure. … Canada has assigned the job of overseeing compliance to an independent regulator, the Commissioner of Lobbying. … Everyone has the democratic right to try to influence law makers what is not a democratic right is to influence law makers in secret.”