Kinsella registers as lobbyist

A change in the provincial government's lobbyists registration law appears to have prompted former Liberal campaign co-chair Patrick Kinsella to make his activities public. Public Eye has been reporting on those activities since 2004. Back then, the usually media shy Mr. Kinsella told us, "I don't do any lobbying. They don't need me to pick up a phone and talk to the provincial government or any members of the provincial government. I make it very clear to my clients that I don't do that." Hence, the reason he never registered as a lobbyist under a law the Campbell administration introduced in 2002.

Then, in 2007, we exclusively obtained records in which Mr. Kinsella's firm The Progressive Group stated it had helped win major provincial government contracts and benefits for powerful corporate and foreign interests, including Accenture Business Services and Alcan Inc.

Progressive issued a statement saying it was "confident it has consistently and correctly followed the requirements" of the Lobbyists Registration Act. But that didn't stop the provincial New Democrats from alleging otherwise, asking the lobbyists registrar and later the police to investigate.

Because of a lack of cooperation by Mr. Kinsella and flaws in the government's legislation, though, neither could.

It wasn't until 2009 that those flaws were patched up, with the Campbell administration introducing legislation that also broadened the definition of what constitutes lobbying.

That legislation kicked in on April 1, 2010. Shortly after that, Mr. Kinsella's name appeared on the lobbyists register, disclosing his work for five clients.

Mr. Kinsella didn't return phone and email requests for comment placed earlier this week.


I may have a new revenue stream for the provincial government that might just help their bottom line. How about each lobbyist pay a registration fee of say $100,000 and an access fee of $10,000 each time they approach the government on behalf of a client.

Maybe then they could reduce the charges they impose on FOI requests.

Just a thought.

Crankypants, I'd cut the registration fee to $1000 and $0. I'd also have FOI request fees only based on copying and/or scanning.

Reality is that lobbying should be illegal. If a business enterprise wishes to do business with government then they should have to do it through the front door in the same manner a private citizen is required to do. No special deals, no favours.

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