NB Integrity Commissioner Seeks Clarification of Law for Lobbyists

However, they were under no obligation to do so.

There are exceptions that exempt certain people from this obligation to register in the register, in particular elected officials or municipal employees.

Tracadie relied on the work of a lobbyist and a consultant to advance its files with ministers and civil servants in Fredericton.

Photo: Radio-Canada / René Landry

Lobbyist Éric Pelletier has registered several times in the past for work with other clients: Medtronic Canada ULC, Pulmonen, Red Bull, etc. But, in the case of the work done for the Regional Municipality of Tracadie, he chose not to do so.

A gray area

The Integrity Commissioner in New Brunswick, Charles Murray, would suggest that a lobbyist in a case like that of the Regional Municipality of Tracadie register in the registry, even if it is not mandatory. He clarifies that there is no cost to do so.

There is no downside to doing sohe adds.

It gives off a smell of transparency. It’s clear what you’re doing. »

A quote from Charles Murray, NB Integrity Commissioner

The words used in the law refer to employeeshe points out. This creates a small gray area. We can well understand if someone is a permanent employee of a municipality, under the exception of the law. But, if a municipality hires someone for a contract of a few months, at that point, does he become an employee of the municipality or is that another term or possibility to describe his relationship with the municipality?

Inside the mind of a professional lobbyist

So why wouldn’t a lobbyist want to register for a job?

That, I can’t say, because I can’t get into the head of a professional lobbyisthe replies.

Lobbyists usually register with the provincial registry for the work they do. But, there is an exception in the case of municipalities.

Photo: iStock

Charles Murray acknowledges that he reads the law with the eyes of a lawyer.

But, I try to read with the eyes of people who don’t have that expertise.he says. It gives the impression that he is only an employee [ou un élu] who has the benefit of this exception.

He intends to ask the Legislature for clarification, probably next year. So he’s going to raise a few questions.

Integrity Commissioner Charles Murray wants provincial politicians to clarify the Lobbyists Registration Act by next year.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Jonathan Villeneuve

Was your intention to create two categories? If you work for a municipality as a professional lobbyist, do you have to register? Or do you understand that it is normal for a municipality to speak with the government, regardless of whether it is a professional lobbyist or not? The law must be clear.

It is already clear, according to the MP for Tracadie-Sheila

Tracadie-Sheila Liberal MP Keith Chiasson says he sees no need to try to clarify the existing law.

But, if the Integrity Commissioner believes that there are still gray areas to be clarified, I hope that we can do so as quickly as possible. »

A quote from Keith Chiasson, Liberal MP for Tracadie-Sheila

I think most people can tell the difference between an employee and a contracthe explains. To me, that’s pretty clear. If you’re an employee, you get your company pay and everything that comes with it. If you are on contract, it is for a fixed period and you are paid a certain amount of money which is negotiated in advance.

Lobbyist Éric Pelletier and consultant Diane Carey, who have done advocacy work in Fredericton on behalf of the Regional Municipality of Tracadie, declined to comment.

In New Brunswick, the Lobbyists Registration Act came into force on April 1, 2017. Its purpose is to ensure transparency and accountability in the lobbying of public office holders in order to increase confidence in the integrity of government decision-makingexplains a note from the office of the executive council.


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