Today in the Legislature, the Progressive Conservatives introduced a bill that would increase transparency and accountability in the province’s lobbying rules.
Eddie Orrell, critic for Labour and Advanced Education introduced amendments to the Lobbyist Registration Act that would require lobbyists to fully self-disclose any lobbying conducted in Nova Scotia. This means lobbyists must disclose who they met with, on what day and the issue that was discussed.
“The Liberal government has operated in backrooms for too long,” said Orrell. The Premier doesn’t disclose his weekly agenda and our Lobbyist Registration Act is outdated and ineffective. Both those factors equal a secretive government that is not accountable,” says Orrell. “People who can influence our government should be disclosed to the public. The current Liberals need to do better and be more open and transparent.”
These much-needed changes come after the RCMP intervened to investigate a meeting that occurred between Premier McNeil and former Prime Minister Jean Chretien in Nova Scotia last year. Although the investigation determined no evidence of lobbying occurred, this is a stark reminder how secretive this government has become.
“It’s a simple, common sense measure we’re advocating for today. Nova Scotians should know if their government was lobbied, when and what they discussed,” said Orrell.
Orrell says these amendments will make this Liberal government be more transparent and open.
“The Liberal government continues to play fast and loose with rules around lobbying in our province,” says Orrell. “If they have nothing to hide, they will pass these amendments.”
The PCs already introduced legislation that would give the registrar authority to investigate accusations that the Act has been violated.