Skip to main content
A scary good deal on trusted journalism
Get full digital access to globeandmail.com
$0.99
per week for 24 weeks SAVE OVER $140
OFFER ENDS OCTOBER 31
A scary good deal on trusted journalism
$0.99
per week
for 24 weeks
SAVE OVER $140
OFFER ENDS OCTOBER 31
// //

Measures introduced by British Columbia Attorney-General David Eby come on the heels of campaign finance reform are part of a package of legislative changes designed to “restore public confidence” in government institutions, Mr. Eby told reporters after tabling the bill.

CHAD HIPOLITO/The Canadian Press

British Columbia will ban cabinet ministers and their staff, along with senior bureaucrats, from lobbying government for two years after leaving the public service under proposed legislation tabled on Monday.

The measures, introduced on the heels of campaign finance reform, are part of a package of legislative changes designed to "restore public confidence" in government institutions, Attorney-General David Eby told reporters after tabling the bill.

It will apply to a long list of former office holders who were swept from power after the May provincial election, including cabinet ministers, members of public boards and top officials at Crown corporations.

Story continues below advertisement

"The goal of this unprecedented legislation in B.C. is to enact a strong, sweeping prohibition," Mr. Eby said, "so that former public-office holders cannot unfairly use their insider knowledge and connections in order to influence government policy on behalf of corporations and organizations."

He said at least three currently registered lobbyists will be prohibited from lobbying government once the bill is passed into law. Ministry staff would not identify them.

Imposing new restrictions for lobbyists was part of the BC Green Party's election platform, and the governing NDP has adopted it as part of the co-operation agreement between the two parties.

The BC Greens did not get everything they asked for, but further changes will be studied as part of a review.

Green MLA Adam Olsen said he was pleased his party was able to champion these changes and that he would like more to be done. "It's frustrating that B.C. is following other provinces on campaign finance and lobbying reform. I want us to be leaders, to be on the cutting edge."

The lobbyist rule changes follow the introduction two weeks ago of a campaign finance bill – one of the flagship reforms of the new NDP government.

In the provincial election in the spring, the NDP and the Greens promised to ban union and corporate donations to political parties, and to limit individual donations.

Story continues below advertisement

The New Democrats are facing a barrage of criticism because their bill, which has not yet passed into law, would provide public subsidies to the three political parties with seats in the legislature despite NDP commitments to the contrary.

Campaign finance and the role of lobbyists in political fundraising were brought into the spotlight after a Globe and Mail investigation revealed in March that the BC Liberals – the governing party of the day – milked lobbyists and government consultants, paid by corporations or special-interest groups to try to influence politicians, for multiple donations in exchange for access to premier Christy Clark and members of her cabinet.

The lobbyist bill falls short of the Greens' call for tougher penalties for violations of the province's lobbying law.

The existing penalties have never been used to the full extent of the law.

Currently, the registrar of lobbyists can impose administrative fines of up to $25,000 on those who do not follow the rules. Over the past five years, the registrar has imposed 62 penalties. The average penalty is $447.18, and the largest penalty was $1,500.

Under the proposed changes tabled by Mr. Eby, former cabinet ministers and their political staff, as well as top-ranking bureaucrats including deputy ministers and assistant deputy ministers, will not be able to register to lobby in B.C. for two years after leaving their employment in the public service. MLAs who are not in cabinet will face no restrictions, and the independent Registrar of Lobbyists can grant exemptions if they are deemed to be in the public interest.

Story continues below advertisement

As well, the two most senior officials of government agencies, including universities, school boards, health-authority boards and a number of Crown corporations, will have to follow the same cooling-off period.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies