Last week, provincial New Democrat legislator John Horgan introduced legislation that, if passed, would prohibit political aides from lobbying the government until 24 months after leaving their jobs. That's a capital idea. And it seems Finance Minister Carole Taylor's ministerial assistant Max Logan must think so too. Because he's giving everyone an example as to why such legislation might be necessary. On Monday, he left his job to become a government relations and members services director for the Retail Council of Canada - the principal lobby group for the country's retailers.
In an interview with Public Eye, Minister Taylor said that when, she learned Mr. Logan would be joining the retail council - an organization with a significant interest in finance ministry decisions - she requested he leave his post immediately rather than wait the customary two weeks. Minister Taylor also sent Mr. Logan a letter stating the neither she nor her office would have any contact with him for one year.
Asked about that decision, Mr. Horgan said "I'm curious as to what authority, what guidelines, what policy, what legislation the minister is relying on to restrict Mr. Logan's rights as he leaves a position that currently has no restrictions (on post-employment lobbying) to go into the government relations business. If she thinks it's a good idea, then why don't we have legislation so she can have some force behind her good ideas?"
Questioned whether she would support such legislation - which would apply to all political staffers - Minister Taylor said, "I believe every ministry has different issues...But, for me, in finance I think it was important to make that break."
Minister Taylor's instructions to Mr. Logan are odds with past Campbell administration practice, which has seen a number of political aides leave the legislature and immediately begin working as lobbyists. Asked about the matter, she said "It would be difficult for me - because I'm a newbie - to talk about what the practice has been in the past what it's like for other ministries. So I think I'll just stick with what I know, which is finance, and why I acted the way I did."