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Loophole allows former officials to lobby for corporations: lobbying commissioner

OTTAWA — Lobbying commissioner Nancy Bélanger says the law needs to be changed to ban former public office holders from lobbying on behalf of corporations.

The commissioner appeared before MPs on the House of Commons ethics committee today to testify about the appointment of former Liberal industry minister Navdeep Bains to a position at Rogers.

The law says an elected official is not permitted to engage in lobbying activities for five years after leaving public office, but Bélanger says that rule applies differently if they go to work for a corporation.

The commissioner says elected officials who go on to work for a corporation can lobby so long as that activity does not make up more than 20 per cent of their job.

Bains’s role will involve overseeing government affairs, but a Rogers spokesperson said he will not communicate with the government on behalf of the company, so as to remain complaint with the Lobbying Act.

Both Bélanger and a representative from the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner say that if Bains keeps his commitment not to engage in direct lobbying, he will be in compliance with the rules.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 20, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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