In response to Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver’s recent temper tantrum about “foreign billionaire socialists hijacking” the pipeline hearings, I reactivated my Lobbyist Watch project, which tracks the burgeoning lobbying sector in Ottawa. Ottawa has a love-hate relationship with this sector. Harper claims to hate it, but they still manage to get invited to all the good parties. During the first week of the New Year, when the federal government was ranting about foreign radicals influencing the pipeline hearings, about 40% of new lobbying registrations came from foreigners, and Harper didn’t make a peep of protest about it. That number now stands around 25%.
The second factor worth highlighting is that, despite following Vivian Krause down the conspiracy theory trail and claiming that foreign environmentalists and other NGOs are busy destroying the Canadian economy by buying influence in our political sphere, an overwhelming proportion of lobbyists sell their mouths and their minds to corporations which, almost without exception, are interested in less environmental regulations, less taxes, and less regulation.
During the first two weeks of this year, over 80% of new lobbyist registrations were by corporations and corporate trade groups, including all but two of the foreign influencers the government claims to despise. The nonprofit side of the balance sheet is dominated by universities and health groups. There were exactly 2 unions registered.
The Lobbyist Watch page also lists people who worked for the present government and subsequently became lobbyists, where the pay is presumably better, despite the fact that they worked for (and supposedly agreed with) a government that publicly insists that “politics will no longer be a stepping stone to a lucrative career in lobbying the government.” This week I have made additions to the list. DFH Public Affairs’s new senior consultant, Matthew Henley, was working as an assistant to Conservative MPs as recently as December 2010. Now he represents a Luxembourg mining outfit (more foreign varmints!) and a Montreal tech company.Tweet