Lobbyists Clear House in Canada

Posted on Jun 12, 2007

One of the major things that really annoy me as a citizen of my country is the growing bond between the legal and commercial worlds. The supposed regulated free-market promoted by our North American brand of capitalism is thriving in a legal environment that serves commercial interests over the greater good of the public. My government no longer looks out for the interests of me and the other twenty-four-some-odd million other Canadians out there; it protects the interests of business and trade.

How does it do this?

Lobbyists. People paid by corporations and corporate-sponsored groups to push for legislation that is favourable to the commercial interests of their clients. They work full-time to subvert the public good and the public has no chance to defend itself. People don’t have the time to review and have a say when it comes to the proposed changes to copyright laws, priorities in policing, and the thousands of issues raised by lobbyists every day. We rely on our elected officials to maintain our interests… but lobbyists are paid to circumvent that guard; and they do it quite successfully.

Take for example, the article “Behind-scenes action led to camcording bill” written by famed law professor Micheal Geist for the Toronto Star. In it, he details the failure of the Canadian government to govern itself. Lobbyists have managed to import their drafts of legislation and by the power of their craft, introduced those drafts to the Canadian government. Where was the due process? Where was the protection of public interests?

The Canadian government needs to recognize that it must serve its people first and foremost above all commercial interests. Lobbyists should not be afforded such leeway that would allow them to draft and propose legislation. Public leaders should not be able to accept campaign sponsorship, contributions, and favours from lobbyists. These laws affect the end consumer who is growing more and more frustrated by the day. They are the ones that pay the government to protect them… it’s about time we held them accountable to do their job.