The Campbell administration may continue to boast it's the most open and accountable government in Canada. But, just east of the Rocky Mountains, the Stelmach administration is putting in place a lobbyist registry with much sharper teeth than British Columbia counterpart. Under legislation passed last week, Alberta's lobbyist registrar has the power to conduct investigations "necessary to ensure compliance" with that act. And, during the course of such investigations, he'll be able to "summmon and enforce the attendance of individuals" and compel them to "produce any document" or "give oral or written evidence under oath." By comparison, British Columbia's registrar has no such investigative authority.
The penalties for violating Alberta's lobbyist laws will also be stiffer, with offenders facing fines of up to $100,000 and the possibility of being suspended from government relations work for two years. Here in British Columbia the maximum fine is $25,000. And the Stelmach administration will be publishing an online searchable index of all government contracts, which will be updated on a quarterly basis. So who's the most open and accountable government now?