Lobbyist legislation introduced by Tories

The Alward government has introduced a lobbyist registration act in a bid to be more open and transparent.

Lobbyist Registration Act will identify professional lobbyists and those they represent

The Alward government has introduced a lobbyist registration act in a bid to be more open and transparent.

The act will require professional lobbyists, who attempt to influence politicians and government officials, to disclose their work publicly.

Deputy Premier Paul Robichaud introduced the legislation on Wednesday, about three years after the government promised such a bill.

"Every lobbyist will have an obligation to register their company, register their name, and also to register their clients to the office of the ombudsman," he said.

"That information will be available and public through the website of the province of New Brunswick."

Lobbyists will also be required to pay a registration fee and will be subject to fines for a variety of offences, including the failure to register; failure to provide accurate and complete information, and making false or misleading statements.

Robichaud says the bill will create a position of registrar of lobbyists as an officer of the legislature.

The Tories began pushing for a law while in opposition after it was revealed Liberal insiders were being hired to arrange meetings for energy companies bidding on contracts.

Former Liberal premier Shawn Graham had talked about setting up a regional lobbyist registry, but it never happened.

The Alward government had introduced a version of the latest bill in 2011, but it was postponed due to technical problems.

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