After 17 years as a federal member of Parliament, Jay Hill has moved to the other side of the table, taking on the job of consultant and lobbyist.
"Lobbying has been seen as a dirty business, but I think it is going to change over time," Mr. Hill said in a recent interview. "People are going to recognize that the reality is, it is a necessary function. As a public office holder, I welcomed people who would tell me their story, no matter what it was."
Mr. Hill, a former secretary of state without portfolio, government house leader and chief government whip, retired in October, 2010. He had won six elections since 1993, running for the Reform Party, the Canadian Alliance and the Conservative Party. He registered as a lobbyist in B.C. earlier this year.
Mr. Hill, who now lives in Calgary, said he has four clients. Three are active in the oil and gas industry in the northern B.C. riding he represented, Prince George-Peace River.
"I approached them and asked if they thought I could be of service, providing largely government relations and public-affairs advice," Mr. Hill said. "I was born and raised there. I can give them some advice on how to approach people up there."
Federal rules prohibit former politicians from lobbying the federal government for five years after they leave office. The restrictions do not prohibit Mr. Hill from lobbying provincial governments, but he must register with the province's registrar of lobbyists.
Mr. Hill recalled that, as a member of the Conservative government, he was often lobbied by businesses and interest groups. "Obviously, I built up some experience on how organizations should lobby successfully to get their message across to the politicians," he said.
He said he appreciated lobbyists who saw themselves as educators and explained some of the challenges that their industries were facing. Many lobbyists did a poor job, failing to say exactly what they were asking him to do, he said, and he offered this advice to colleagues: "Get to the point, and of course, provide context and background as to why you believe whatever you are asking for, but don't leave any ambiguity when you walk out of a room."
The lobbyists registry shows that Mr. Hill had contact on Oct. 21 with Premier Christy Clark, Jobs Minister Pat Bell, Energy Minister Rich Coleman and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson to discuss the liquefied natural gas plant in Kitimat. His client was Apache Canada Ltd., a Calgary based subsidiary of Apache Corp. of Houston.
Mr. Hill had contact with Blair Lekstrom (Peace River South) and Terry Lake (Kamloops-North Thompson), also on Oct. 21, to discuss a landfill project. He spoke to their staff in late October and mid-November. He was representing CCS Midstream Services. Calgary-based CCS Corp. is North America's largest privately held oil and gas environmental services company, the registry shows.