moved for leave to introduce Bill C-278, An Act to amend the Lobbying Act (reporting obligations).
Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure, on behalf of the people of my riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke and Canada, to introduce this bill, an act to amend the Lobbying Act (reporting obligations), to read as the foreign lobbyist transparency act. This legislation is about protecting Canadian jobs.
Thousands of Canadians rely on the working forest for their livelihood. Canadians should be shocked to learn that for every dollar spent by our forestry industry that correctly points out Canada is a world leader in sustainable, environmentally sound forestry practices, opponents of the Canadian forestry industry spend a thousand dollars and more on spreading wrong information.
Canadians do not know exactly how much money is spent to influence the attitudes of voters because much of the transfer of lobbying dollars is hidden. This legislation will shed light on something that threatens Canadian democracy.
All Canadians have built something very special in our country. Any time there is a national discussion on any topic, be it the environment, forestry, mining, national defence, or anything else, Canadians have a right to know whose voice is being heard and why.
Canadians need to know that foreigners have been secretly funding single or special interest groups whose lobbying efforts do not enjoy the support of regular hard-working Canadians. Many of these groups could not exist without foreign funding.
In my riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, and indeed across Canada, thousands of hard-working Canadians depend on their livelihood from the working forest. Misinformation jeopardizes those jobs. Canadians have a right to know the sources of funding for those groups that seek to take away jobs from Canadians.
The foreign lobbyist transparency act would achieve financial transparency and improved accountability through the public reporting of payments made by foreigners to lobbyists.