Inside Politics

UPDATED - Former MP Ted Menzies to take on new gig at CropLife Canada

A week after announcing that he had resigned his long-held House of Commons seat, now former Alberta Conservative MP Ted Menzies has served notice, via tweeted corporate press release, that while he may have left the Hill, he won't be going far. 

As of January 1st, he'll be taking on a new gig as president and CEO of of pest control industry association CropLife Canada, and working out of the organization's head offices in Ottawa.  

"Ted earned the respect of colleagues from across the political spectrum during his time in federal politics. His ability to collaborate with others in the pursuit of meaningful solutions and his extensive agricultural background are attributes that will serve Ted and our industry well," said Kamel Beliazi, chair of the CropLife Canada board of directors.

First elected to represent the Alberta Constituency of Macleod in 2004, Menzies held several federal positions including Federal Minister of State for Finance and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance. Prior to entering federal politics Menzies was involved in several farm organizations, including the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, Grain Growers of Canada and Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association.

Menzies owned and operated a 5,000-acre farm from 1974-2003 where he produced grain, oilseeds, pulses and spices.

"As a farmer, I have always been interested in how technology can improve operations. I saw firsthand the role that pesticides and plant biotechnology play in increasing yields and helping improve the farm environment. I know how important these technologies are for farmers and that's a very big part of why I am so excited about this next phase in my career," said Menzies.

CropLife Canada represents the companies that develop, manufacture and distribute pest control products and plant biotechnology.  

As a former minister of state, he's also subject to the five-year ban on lobbying, as well as all post-employment restrictions covered by the Conflict of Interest Act

UPDATE - Courtesy of the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, here's a bit more context on exactly how the Conflict of Interest Act applies to former ministers of state like -- and, indeed, including -- Menzies: 

All former public office holders, including former ministers of the Crown and ministers of state, are subject, for life, to the post-employment restrictions set out in sections 33 and 34 of the Act*.  

In accordance with subsection 36(2) of the Conflict of Interest Act, they are also subject, for a period of two years for former ministers and ministers of state and one year for all other former reporting public office holders following their last day in office, to subsections 35(1) to (3). 

Subsection 35(1) prohibits former reporting public office holders from contracting with, accepting an appointment to the board of directors of, or accepting an offer of employment with an entity with which they had direct and significant official dealings during their last year in office. 

Subsection 35(2) prohibits former reporting public office holders from making representations on behalf of any other person or entity to any department, organization, board, commission or tribunal with they had direct and significant official dealings during their last year in office. 

Subsection 35(3) prohibits former ministers of the Crown and ministers of state from making representations to a current minister of the Crown or minister of state who was in Cabinet at the same time as they were. 

*Section 33 bars public office holder from "act[ing] in such a manner as to take improper advantage of his or her previous public office. 

Section 34 (1) prohibits them from "act[ing] for or on behalf of any person or organization in connection with any specific proceeding, transaction, negotiation or case to which the Crown is a party and with respect to which the former public office holder had acted for, or provided advice to, the Crown, and 34 (2) bars them from advising "a client, business associate or employer using information that was obtained in his or her capacity as a public office holder and is not available to the public." 

A spokesperson for the commissioner also confirmed that Menzies did contact the office, but couldn't comment further due to confidentiality rules. (Seeing as he took the job, it seems safe to assume she didn't give him a categorical thumbs down.) 

In any case, as noted above, as a former reporting public office holder, Menzies is also forbidden from engaging in lobbying activities that would otherwise trigger registration filing requirements -- which, in this case, would mean hitting the 20 percent or "significant part of duties" threshold for in-house lobbyists. 

As president of CropLife Canada, however, Menzies may find himself legally responsible for filing registrations on behalf of the organization's small cadre of in-house lobbyists, as is the case for outgoing president Lorne Hepworth. 

As a result, Menzies name could start popping up in communications reports long before his cooling-off period is scheduled to expire in 2018 -- which, according to the Office of the Lobbying Commissioner, is just fine, provided that he doesn't actually do any of that lobbying himself -- at least, not until he's free and clear of the five-year ban. 

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