Ontario PC leader promises to curb lobbying of former government staff
Patrick Brown in Toronto vows to end culture of what he called 'Liberal insiders'
Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown says the party promises to tighten lobbying rules if elected to limit the political activities of former provincial government staff.
Former staff, according to Brown, would be prevented from lobbying for companies that they used to deal with while in government and that ban on lobbying would be in place for a year after they leave government.
Brown made the comment in Toronto on Saturday, six months after Iain Myrans, the former chief of staff to Environment Minister Glen Murray, left his job with the Kathleen Wynne government to work for the electric car maker Telsa.
"Frankly, right now in Wynne's Liberal Ontario, you can have the government give a company a bundle of cash, and the next day, those political staffers, those Liberal insiders, can go work for that company," Brown said.
Speaking across from the Tesla showroom at 1325 Lawrence Ave. E., Brown said the party will make sure that the lobbying rules, once they are strengthened, will also be enforced.
Under current rules, former staff can work for companies that they used to deal with when they were employed by the province, but they are banned from lobbying their former ministry for one year.
Brown said that means former staff cannot lobby a ministry for which they worked with directly, but they can lobby one with which they worked with closely.
He said this situation has created a "loophole" that has led to unethical situations where company representatives, in effect, have what he called "inequitable access" to government.
The party would stop "the revolving door," he added.
Case of former chief of staff 'doesn't pass the smell test'
"This will be one of the first measures an Ontario PC government would implement," Brown said in a news release.
Brown pointed out that in February, around the same time that the province announced up to $14,000 in subsidies to support consumers who buy or lease of eligible battery-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, Myrans left his government job to work for Tesla, a company which specializes in making electric cars.
He said this example "doesn't pass the smell test."
Brown said the provincial government has created a culture where there are insiders who are getting ahead while Ontario families, who have played by the rules, are not.
Myrans, in his LinkedIn profile, discloses in a statement above his online resume that he used to work for the provincial government.
"Until recently, Iain served in the role of Director of Policy in the Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change in Ontario where Iain was the senior advisor on matters related to climate change for the Minister Glen Murray," it reads.