PEI

Because P.E.I.'s small: What that means for government lobbyists

P.E.I. Premier Wade MacLauchlan and provincial Green Leader Peter Bevan-Baker have different takes on what the province's small size should mean for former MLAs lobbying the government.

Lobbyist Registration Act passes 2nd reading

P.E.I.'s small size should mean more stringent lobbying rules, says Peter Bevan-Baker. (Province of P.E.I.)

P.E.I. Premier Wade MacLauchlan and provincial Green Leader Peter Bevan-Baker have different takes on what the province's small size should mean for former MLAs lobbying the government.

The government's Lobbyist Registration Act passed second reading Tuesday night.

The bill would create a list where Islanders can learn who is lobbying their government. It would also create a new six-month cooling off period for former MLAs, before they can work as lobbyists.

Currently there's only a cooling off period for former cabinet ministers.

MacLauchlan is inclined to let former MLAs start lobbying sooner. (Province of P.E.I.)

Bevan-Baker said six months is the shortest cooling-off period in the country.

"When I asked [the premier] why, he made the comment, well, because it's Prince Edward Island and we're small," said Bevan-Baker.

"I think that's an argument for actually making sure we have the most stringent cooling-off periods, because there's a very intimate relationship here between elected officials and the business community, and all of those people who like to influence government."

Amendment defeated

Bevan-Baker introduced an amendment to lengthen the cooling off period to two years, but it was defeated.

P.E.I.'s conflict of interest commissioner has also said six months is too short, at least for cabinet ministers.

In his 2015 report he said the cooling off period for cabinet ministers should be extended to 12 months.

With files from Kerry Campbell

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