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View Full Version : Lobby group full of Liberals offers access to Minister of Environment for $10,000.



soulchaser
07-11-2017, 09:02 PM
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/lobby-group-asked-to-stop-offering-access-to-ottawa-for-cash/article35660454/

A high-tech lobby group led by a former Liberal aide has been asked to stop promising to deliver monthly meetings with a Liberal government chief of staff in exchange for $10,000.

The Council of Canadian Innovators has revised its membership pitch after receiving a complaint from the office of Environment Minister Catherine McKenna.

The incident is raising questions over what critics say is the inevitable lobbying push from corporate Canada as companies target the billions in federal tax dollars on offer from a Liberal government promising to boost innovation through spending on infrastructure and direct support for private firms.

The council’s original letter sent to companies in the “Cleantech” sector outlined what chief executive officers would receive in exchange for a $10,000-a-year membership fee.

Cleantech CEOs who are part of CCI participate in: monthly meetings with the Chief of Staff to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change,” the letter states. The council also promises that members would participate in regular working groups with federal public servants and “internal planning discussions regarding the federal government’s $950-million Innovation Clusters program.”

The council of Canadian-based high-technology companies was formed in November, 2015, a week after the Liberal government was sworn in on a platform that included a heavy focus on encouraging innovation and growth in the technology sector.

In response to the letter, which was first reported online Tuesday by Radio-Canada, Ms. McKenna’s office asked the council for revisions. A spokeswoman for the Minister said the council has only met with the chief of staff three times since October, not monthly.

“Our office has absolutely indicated [to the council] that the pitch is neither accurate nor appropriate,” Caitlin Workman said.

A spokesman for the council, Patrick Searle, said on Tuesday that the letter had already been changed in June. The organization now promises “regular meetings” with Ms. McKenna’s chief of staff, Marlo Raynolds, rather than monthly meetings.

A statement from the council said it complies with all federal ethics rules, meets with all parties and that its members come from across the political spectrum.

The council currently has four full-time staff, three of whom are former Liberal staffers either federally or for Ontario Liberal politicians.

It is led by Benjamin Bergen, a former executive assistant to current Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland when she was an opposition MP. On Tuesday, Mr. Bergen initially disputed a published report describing him as Ms. Freeland’s campaign manager during the 2015 campaign. When it was pointed out that he had described himself as campaign manager in a 2016 version of his C.V., Mr. Bergen said he was not the official campaign manager for Elections Canada purposes, but acted as a co-campaign manager.

He said the official campaign manager was Dana O’Born, who is now the council’s director of policy. Mr. Searle, the council’s director of communications, was a spokesman for Ontario Liberal cabinet ministers between 2012 and January, 2017.

The council is chaired by former BlackBerry Ltd. chief executive officer Jim Balsillie and the vice-chair is John Ruffolo, CEO of the venture-capital arm of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System pension fund. The original goal was to keep the membership under 50 companies but the council now has more than 65 listed on its website. The first 20 members included Shopify Inc., Hootsuite Media Inc. and Wattpad.

Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre said Liberal promises of innovation super clusters and other forms of direct support to private companies will inevitably lead firms to boost their lobbying efforts.

“This sort of sleazy, cash-for-access influence-buying is an unavoidable consequence of government interference in the free enterprise system,” he said. “The government is pouring billions of dollars into highly-complex corporate welfare schemes, and as soon as that happens, businesses are prepared to invest in the political access to get their hands on that money.”

Mr. Poilievre said the federal Liberals are repeating the practice of the Ontario Liberal government, which rewarded some green-technology companies with controversial long-term energy deals.

“This is not new,” he said. “It’s just a replication of Kathleen Wynne’s green-energy policy.”

soulchaser
07-11-2017, 09:14 PM
This whole Liberal government is one big super cluster f--k.

soulchaser
07-11-2017, 10:05 PM
And you gotta love this:

A high-tech lobby group led by a former Liberal aide has been asked to stop promising to deliver monthly meetings with a Liberal government chief of staff in exchange for $10,000.

Followed by:

A spokesman for the council, Patrick Searle, said on Tuesday that the letter had already been changed in June. The organization now promises “regular meetings” with Ms. McKenna’s chief of staff, Marlo Raynolds, rather than monthly meetings.

Yeah, ummm...... The fact you weren't fulfilling the promised number of meeting isn't the issue.

The issue is you were, and still are offering access to the Environment Minister for $10,000.

Waterloomike
07-11-2017, 10:38 PM
Does anyone know of any new technology any government program has actually produced?

Not new from mish mashed products that already existed, but actual new technology? That benefits humanity?

Doug_M
07-12-2017, 04:59 AM
Does anyone know of any new technology any government program has actually produced?

Yes, they invented this giant machine that reduces money to almost nothing. Oh wait, you said "benefits humanity".

Waterloomike
07-12-2017, 05:13 AM
Yes, they invented this giant machine that reduces money to almost nothing. Oh wait, you said "benefits humanity".

The internet just occerred to me. Although that is a mish mash of civilian tech organised into something that would have happened anyway.

Maybe circuit boards.

I know about the one you mentioned. They can take that one and shove it.

soulchaser
07-12-2017, 06:49 AM
The internet just occerred to me. Although that is a mish mash of civilian tech organised into something that would have happened anyway.

Maybe circuit boards.

I know about the one you mentioned. They can take that one and shove it.

Everyone knows all technological advances made by humans in the last 100 years have been reverse engineered from Megatron.

Billythreefeathers
07-12-2017, 07:28 AM
Does anyone know of any new technology any government program has actually produced?

Not new from mish mashed products that already existed, but actual new technology? That benefits humanity?

I don't know,, but I just re-invented the 'liberal air cooler and freshener',, going to ask for $100 million from the Environment minister to set up a plant somewhere in Quebec,,,

http://i1176.photobucket.com/albums/x339/Billythreefeathers/V-Guard-Selfee-Multipurpose-Fan-SDL873737625-1-2f65a_zpswkxtdtlz.jpg (http://s1176.photobucket.com/user/Billythreefeathers/media/V-Guard-Selfee-Multipurpose-Fan-SDL873737625-1-2f65a_zpswkxtdtlz.jpg.html)

+

http://i1176.photobucket.com/albums/x339/Billythreefeathers/s-l1000_zpsemmkzd3d.jpg (http://s1176.photobucket.com/user/Billythreefeathers/media/s-l1000_zpsemmkzd3d.jpg.html)

= $100 million

sure hope no one steals my idea

Waterloomike
07-12-2017, 07:37 AM
I don't know,, but I just re-invented the 'liberal air cooler and freshener',, going to ask for $100 million from the Environment minister to set up a plant somewhere in Quebec,,,

http://i1176.photobucket.com/albums/x339/Billythreefeathers/V-Guard-Selfee-Multipurpose-Fan-SDL873737625-1-2f65a_zpswkxtdtlz.jpg (http://s1176.photobucket.com/user/Billythreefeathers/media/V-Guard-Selfee-Multipurpose-Fan-SDL873737625-1-2f65a_zpswkxtdtlz.jpg.html)

+

http://i1176.photobucket.com/albums/x339/Billythreefeathers/s-l1000_zpsemmkzd3d.jpg (http://s1176.photobucket.com/user/Billythreefeathers/media/s-l1000_zpsemmkzd3d.jpg.html)

= $100 million

sure hope no one steals my idea

The only way i know of to rid that smell is to put it in a 55 gal. drum and set it on fire. I learned that in the army so i guess that's their's.

But you may well get funding. Good luck!

soulchaser
07-12-2017, 07:56 AM
I don't know,, but I just re-invented the 'liberal air cooler and freshener',, going to ask for $100 million from the Environment minister to set up a plant somewhere in Quebec,,,

http://i1176.photobucket.com/albums/x339/Billythreefeathers/V-Guard-Selfee-Multipurpose-Fan-SDL873737625-1-2f65a_zpswkxtdtlz.jpg (http://s1176.photobucket.com/user/Billythreefeathers/media/V-Guard-Selfee-Multipurpose-Fan-SDL873737625-1-2f65a_zpswkxtdtlz.jpg.html)

Put a solar panel on it and rig it to suck and blow at the same time and Environment Barbie is sure to give you some cash.

Billythreefeathers
07-12-2017, 08:00 AM
Ya,,, baby,,, solar powered,,, I'm going to ask for $150 million now ;)

soulchaser
07-12-2017, 10:30 PM
Federal commissioners asked to probe Liberal-connected firm’s cash-for-access pitch

The federal ethics and lobbying commissioners are being asked to investigate whether a lobby firm for high-tech companies that is led by a former Liberal aide broke the rules by offering access to decision makers in exchange for a $10,000 yearly fee.

NDP MP Nathan Cullen has asked the federal Ethics Commissioner to investigate, while advocacy group Democracy Watch has written to both the Ethics Commissioner and the Lobbying Commissioner.

“Canadians will certainly be suspicious that this organization was created soon after the Liberals were elected, that it is made up of many well-connected Liberal insiders and donors, and that it offers exclusive and preferential access to Liberal government agencies and senior staff of at least one cabinet minister,” Mr. Cullen wrote in his letter to the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner on Wednesday. “This relationship undoubtedly warrants further investigation.”

Related: Lobby group asked to stop offering access to Ottawa in exchange for $10,000

The complaints focus on a membership pitch circulated by the Council of Canadian Innovators, an industry group that was created in late 2015 to lobby on behalf of Canadian high-tech firms. Three of the council’s four full-time staff are former Liberal aides, either federally or in Ontario.

The council sent a letter to clean-tech firms stating that among the things their chief executives would receive in exchange for a $10,000-a-year membership fee was participation in monthly meetings with Environment Minister Catherine McKenna’s chief of staff. The pitch also promised access to “internal planning discussions regarding the federal government’s $950-million Innovation Clusters program.”

A spokesperson for Ms. McKenna said on Tuesday that the group’s pitch was “neither accurate nor appropriate” and added that the chief of staff, Marlo Raynolds, had met the group only three times since October. The council said this week that it changed the wording of the document last month so that it promises regular rather than monthly meetings with Ms. McKenna’s chief of staff.

On Wednesday, the minister's office said Mr. Raynolds has written to the lobbying commissioner as well to ask for a review of the matter. Mr. Raynolds has also written to the ethics commissioner to "clarify the record."

The council says its request for an annual membership fee in exchange for government relations work is no different than those of other industry groups that meet regularly with public servants and political staff.

The council is led by Benjamin Bergen, who was an executive assistant to Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland when she was in opposition. Mr. Bergen described himself as Ms. Freeland’s 2015 campaign manager in a 2016 version of his résumé. However, this week he said he was not the official campaign manager and was more of a co-campaign manager. He said the official campaign manager was Dana O’Born, who is now the council’s director of policy.

“The Council of Canadian Innovators always has and always will abide by all federal and provincial accountability and transparency legislation when engaging in its advocacy work,” Mr. Bergen said in a statement on Wednesday.

“In just over one year, the CEOs, who are proud Canadians, have engaged with government officials and politicians from across the political spectrum to make meaningful contributions to Canada’s economic development, health, public safety, environmental and other important areas of public policy.”

Since its formation, the council has had broad access to top public servants and political aides across the federal government.

The federal lobbyist registry shows the council has had 203 meetings with federal officials since it was formed, including 13 meetings with Global Affairs Canada, where Ms. Freeland first served as trade minister and then Foreign Affairs Minister. None of those meetings involved Ms. Freeland directly or her political staff.

The Democracy Watch letter asks the lobbying commissioner to investigate whether the interactions with Ms. Freeland’s department constitute a breach of the Lobbyist Code of Conduct. The code states that a lobbyist shall not lobby a public-office holder with whom they have a relationship that could reasonably be seen to create a sense of obligation. The code also states that lobbyists must refrain for five years from lobbying people for whom they have engaged in political activities that could create a sense of obligation.

Neither Mr. Bergen nor Ms. O’Born were registered lobbyists when they worked on Ms. Freeland’s 2015 campaign, but the council said they will not lobby the minister for five years. Democracy Watch says the five-year ban should also apply to Ms. Freeland’s department, but is asking the commissioner to make a determination on that point.

Elections Canada records show Ms. Freeland paid Mr. Bergen $1,176.26 in 2015 campaign expenses for ground transportation. The candidate also paid Ms. O’Born $79.10 for personal grooming and $33.90 for clothing.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/federal-commissioners-called-on-to-look-into-liberal-connected-firms-cash-for-access-pitch/article35677119/