Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada

Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada

February 16, 2011 15:30 ET

Commissioner of Lobbying Finds Three Lobbyists in Breach of the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 16, 2011) - Karen E. Shepherd, Commissioner of Lobbying, tabled three reports today in both Houses of Parliament on the activities of three lobbyists.

In all three cases, the Commissioner found the lobbyists were in breach of the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct. She concluded that Bruce Rawson did not register lobbying activities performed on behalf of two clients. The Commissioner also found that Will Stewart and Michael McSweeney created an apparent conflict of interest by conducting fundraising activities for a federal cabinet minister whose department they were lobbying.

"These reports show there are consequences to breaching the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct," said Commissioner Shepherd. "The Stewart and McSweeney cases are groundbreaking, as they are the first ones since the Federal Court of Appeal's decision in March 2009 that provided a new interpretation of Rule 8 of the Code."

The purpose of the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct is to assure the Canadian public that lobbying is done ethically and with the highest standards, with a view to increasing public confidence and trust in the integrity, objectivity and impartiality of government decision-making.

The Lobbyists' Code of Conduct is an integral part of the disclosure and ethical requirements that apply to all lobbyists. Breaches of the Code carry no fines or jail terms.

Please consult the reports for further details.

Backgrounder

Three Reports on Investigation Tabled in Parliament

Bruce Rawson

This case involves paid lobbying conducted by Mr. Rawson on behalf of two British Columbia mining companies dating back to 2004. In June 2006, the Registrar of Lobbyists determined there were reasonable grounds to believe that a breach of the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct had occurred and commenced an investigation. The RCMP earlier that year had determined it would not be proceeding with an investigation under the Lobbyists Registration Act. The current Commissioner of Lobbying inherited this case when she took office and completed her investigation in late 2010.

The Report concludes that Mr. Rawson engaged in activities that required him to register as a lobbyist when, for payment, he arranged client meetings with public office holders. By failing to do so, he was in breach of the Principle of Professionalism, Rule 2 (Accurate Information) and Rule 3 (Disclosure of obligations) of the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct.

Please consult the report for further details.

Michael McSweeney

Michael McSweeney is an in-house (organization) lobbyist employed by the Cement Association of Canada (CAC). He helped organize a fundraising dinner in September 2009 for then Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Lisa Raitt. The Commissioner initiated an administrative review to look into the file and she also received complaints from Parliamentarians and Democracy Watch to look into the matter. In July 2010, following an administrative review, the Commissioner commenced an investigation of the matter.

The investigation concluded that Mr. McSweeney played a role in the organization of the event by selling tickets. During the same period of time, Mr. McSweeney was registered to lobby on behalf of CAC in respect of subjects that fell within the purview of the Minister, and communicated with her directly in respect of registrable subjects.

In view of this, the Commissioner concluded that Mr. McSweeney's actions placed the Minister in an apparent conflict of interest and he was, therefore, in breach of Rule 8 of the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct.

Please consult the report for further details.

Will Stewart

During the course of the administrative review of Michael McSweeney, the Commissioner was made aware that another lobbyist had played a role in organizing the same fundraising event for then Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Lisa Raitt. Mr. Stewart was a consultant lobbyist with undertakings on behalf of various clients. The Commissioner commenced an investigation in July 2010. The investigation concluded that Mr. Stewart played a major role in the organization of the event, including selling tickets.

During the same period of time, Mr. Stewart was registered to lobby on behalf of various clients in respect of subjects that fell within the purview of the Minister, and communicated with her directly in respect of registrable subjects.

It is the Commissioner's conclusion that his actions placed the Minister in an apparent conflict of interest and he was, therefore, in breach of Rule 8 of the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct.

Please consult the report for further details.

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