In 2008, Attorney General Wally Oppal said the Campbell administration might amend its flawed Lobbyists Registration Act - perhaps before the election. But, according to emails obtained exclusively by Public Eye via a freedom of information request, that statement appears to frustrated his top political aide. On March 17 of that year, CFAX 1070 reported the New Democrats were demanding changes to that legislation which would ban deputy ministers and political appointees from lobbying the government for two years after leaving its employ.
In response, Attorney General Oppal said the idea of a two-year ban was ridiculous. But he also said he was open to making changes to that law as early as the fall - a statement that didn't seem to sit well with the attorney general's then ministerial assistant Michael Harrison.
Forwarding a copy of the report to deputy attorney general Allan Seckel, Mr. Harrison attached this message to the email: "Sigh..."
In response, Mr. Seckel replied, "Get some control, Mr. M.A.! :)"
Mr. Harrison, who is now working for Finance Minister Colin Hansen, and Mr. Seckel declined a request for comment.
But New Democrat attorney general critic Leonard Krog didn't, stating, "It demonstrates, sadly, that Minister Oppal does not appear to be in control of his ministry."
"If I were Mr. Oppal, I'd be embarrassed and I'd be reconsidering who should be my deputy attorney general," Mr. Krog continued.
"If I were the attorney general and that kind of memo surfaced that showed such a complete lack of respect for me as the attorney general - which is a unique position in our system - I don't think I'd want anyone working for me who'd be part of that kind of exchange."
Lobbyists registrar David Loukidelis called on the Campbell administration to fix the act as early as May 28, 2007.
But, to date, the Campbell administration has yet to do so - despite the fact the registrar presently has no power to investigate alleged violations of that legislation.
From: Seckel, Allan AG:EX
Sent: Mon, March 17, 2008 6:37 PM
To: Harrison, Michael D AG:EX
Subject: RE: AG Oppal says lobbyist law might be changed - CFAX 4 pm - Mar-17-08
Get some control, Mr. M.A.! :)
From: Harrison, Michael D AG:EX
Sent: March 17, 2008 - 06:21 PM
To: Seckel, Allan AG:EX
Subject: Fw: AG Oppal says lobbyist law might be changed - CFAX 4 pm - Mar 17-08
From: PAB Media Monitoring PAB:EX
Sent: Mon Mar 17 17:24:10 2008
Subject: AG Oppal says lobbyist law might be changed - CFAX 4 pm - Mar 17-08
Media Monitoring - TV
AG Oppal says lobbyist law might be changed - CFAX 4 pm - Mar 17-08
Anchor: Attorney General Wally Oppal says he's open to changing the province's laws governing lobbyists. Opposition leader Carole James has been saying today that former deputy ministers and political appointees should be banned from lobbying the Government for two years, the same as former cabinet ministers. Oppal says the idea of a two-year ban is ridiculous but he says changes in the law could come as early as this fall.
Wally Oppal: You know, I would like to think that if there is a fall session maybe we can get something done for the fall but ah, or, in the spring.
Anchor: The lobbying issue came up after Ken Dobell, a former top aide to Premier Campbell, pleaded guilty to violating the lobbyist law and was handed an absolute discharge last wekk.
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Public Affairs Bureau