June 5, 2003 (37th Parliament, 2nd Session)

CA

James Rajotte

Canadian Alliance

Mr. James Rajotte (Edmonton Southwest, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to my colleague's speech on the Lobbyists Registration Act and he raised some good points. He spoke about a number of the witnesses who appeared before the industry committee when we were studying the bill. He was correct in saying that many of them had serious concerns not only with the bill itself, but with some of the things that should have been in the bill that were not.
He touched on one with regard to the independent ethics commissioner. As he has pointed out, independence is needed to effectively deal with complaints as they regard lobbyists. We have transparency now in the fact that lobbyists register and they are available on the website where people can find who is registered and for what they are lobbying. The concern for many of us in this chamber is the fact that we need an independent authority, not just an appointment of the prime minister of the governing party but an independent officer of Parliament itself to deal with complaints. If someone has an allegation to make against a certain lobbyist for something, then that should be made to an independent ethics commissioner.
Does the member think the proposed independent ethics commissioner addresses this concern? I believe it does not. Does he think that to be truly independent, the person should be appointed by all parliamentarians, by the House itself, so the person is an officer of Parliament rather than being an appointment of the prime minister or of the governing party?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Lobbyists Registration Act
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