Posted by: HamptonIona | December 2, 2011

Draft Lobbyist Register By-law

On December 1st at City Hall the Governance Committee debated the proposed Lobbyist Register Bylaw.  This draft by-law was introduced to Council on November 18.  It was originally scheduled to go to the Governance Committee on December 1 followed by the Finance and Economic Development Committee (FEDCO) on December 6 followed by a final vote at December’s full Council meeting.   Of particular  interest to residents of Kitchissippi is that Councillor Hobbs sits on the Governance Committee.

This draft bylaw had several elements in it that cause great concern to most community groups, including Hampton Iona.  These elements were:

  • The requirement for voluntary not-for-profit organizations to have to register as lobbyists, including those who speak on behalf of such groups.
  • In the case that a voluntary not-for-profit group were to organize a grassroots campaign, it is possible that any member of the public who writes their councillor as a result would have to register as lobbyists unless the criteria was waived by the City’s Integrity Commissioner.
  • Developer, in the course of normal discussions with the Planning Department with respect to getting approval for their projects would not have to register their communications under the lobbyist register.  Community members and community groups, however, might have to register as lobbyists unless there comments were voiced at a public meeting or part of the official request for comments from the public.  Developers, however, would have to register their contacts with elected officials.  This is troubling given that the OMB places far more weight on the views of Planning Staff than on the will of an elected council.  Hence when it comes to getting a development approved, it is more important for developers to get the Planning Staff on board than it is to get councillors on-side.

If the Governance Committee were to have approved the draft by-law, it would go on the Financial and Economic Development Committee next week.

At the start of the meeting, Mayor Watson introduced a motion requesting major changes  to the draft bylaw, including limiting the requirement for community groups to have register as lobbyists.  As a result, the draft by-law will not be going forward at this time.  Staff will be revising the proposed by-law and will return to the Governance Committee some time next year.

At today’s meeting, approximately 15 groups made presentations including Hampton Iona Community Group.  Please find attached a copy of our presentation.  If anyone has any questions, please do not hesitate to contact HICG.  The original draft by-law and background discussion are available on the City’s website.

Lobbyist Register Bylaw Presentation (December 1, 2011)

Draft Lobbyist Register By-law

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