(OTTAWA) Federal lobbying commissioner Nancy Bélanger says the government should change the law if it wants to ban former public office holders, such as elected officials, from subsequently lobbying for the private sector.
Commissioner Bélanger, looking visibly frustrated, appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Ethics on Tuesday to advise MPs on the Rogers appointment of former Liberal Industry Minister Navdeep Bains as “Head of Corporate Affairs”.
“The Lobbying Act needs to be changed. There are loopholes and loopholes,” she said.
The law states that an elected official is not allowed to engage in lobbying activities for five years after leaving public office. But Ms. Bélanger clarified that this rule applies differently if an elected official then goes to work for a company.
The commissioner clarified that under the current rules, elected officials who work for a corporation can lobby as long as this activity does not represent more than 20% of their duties.
Mr. Bains’ role at Rogers will be to oversee government affairs, but a company spokesperson said he would not communicate with the government on the company’s behalf, in order to comply with the Lobbying Act.
Ms. Bélanger and a director at the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner both confirmed on Tuesday that if Mr. Bains honors his pledge not to lobby directly, he will abide by the rules currently in place in Ottawa. .