Liberal Lobby reform proposals learn nothing from Ornge

Queen’s Park – NDP MPP Gilles Bisson says McGuinty Liberals have learned nothing from the Ornge scandal and need to bring in serious changes to Ontario’s lobbying rules. Bisson says that real reforms are desperately need to make the Lobbyists Registration Act effective and called on the government to follow recommendations from Ontario’s Integrity Commissioner.

“Ontarians deserve transparency in their government, and today the McGuinty Liberals made it clear they’re not interested in doing that,” said Bisson. “The holes in the Liberal scheme are so big you could fly an Ornge helicopter through them.”

Earlier today, the McGuinty government announced plans to amend the Lobbyist Registration Act but ignored key recommendations made by Ontario’s Integrity Commissioner in May. For example, the Integrity Commissioner calls for elimination of the “20% rule” which allows in-house lobbyists to engage in unregistered lobbying. Lobbyists like Liberal Party President Alfred Apps used this loophole to lobby friends in government about Ornge without registering to do so. Also, Liberals are doing nothing to address the question of “grass roots” lobbying, and ignore many of the administrative changes requested by the Integrity Commissioner.

“We need real reform to lobbying in Ontario, not half-measures that let problems fester. People in Ontario are sick of lobbyists breaking the rules and getting away with it,” Bisson continued. “The Liberals have chosen to ignore many of the Integrity Commissioner’s recommended reforms which could actually prevent another scandal like the one at Ornge.”

New Democrats will continue push for greater transparency and accountability in the lobbying field.


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