Advocate for Sask. lobby registry sees big gaps in proposed law
One of the proponents of a lobbying registry in Saskatchewan says the government is proposing tough new rules, with big gaps.
Guy Giorno is an Ottawa lawyer and a former chief of staff to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He first spoke out about Saskatchewan's lack of any lobby legislation more than two years ago.
The government finally introduced its legislation on Thursday.
Giorno says if it passes, it will have among the strongest enforcement and conflict-of-interest rules in the country. However, Giorno says it will not apply to many groups, including many non-profits.
"My view is if you're going to be transparent, everything should be transparent," says Giorno. "So should an oil company be required to make its lobbying transparent but not an environmental group?"
Giorno notes the law would also exclude those who lobby for fewer than 100 hours each year. Giorno says that is a common threshold in Western Canada, but he notes experts are recommending eliminating thresholds.
"You can lobby 50 hours in a year, but that can be of great significance. You can be lobbying for only 50 hours a year about a $1-billion contract."
Still, Giorno says he is pleased Saskatchewan has introduced legislation. It is one of the last provinces in Canada to do so.