Mr. Speaker, I am very honoured to rise on behalf of the New Democratic Party with its response to the ethics and privacy committee's review of the Lobbying Act.
We felt that in this committee all parties managed to do some very good work on the issue of lobbying. However, there are serious shortcomings that have to be pointed out and addressed, because Canadians expect accountability on the issue of lobbying.
While we support the overall recommendations, we have to note that the government restricted the witness list. It restricted it in such a way that Guy Giorno, former chief of staff to the Prime Minister, a man I would never normally quote except in an accusatory fashion, said that the committee had “larded the witness list” with consultant lobbyists who have a biased point of view.
The other really disturbing issue was the fact that the government members continually refused to allow the RCMP to be heard.
As a result, we have a number of recommendations.
We recommend that the lobbying commissioner be empowered to carry on investigations that have been handed over to the RCMP, because the RCMP has never followed through; that consultant lobbyists must report the ultimate client of their lobbying work in their monthly communications report, not just the firm for which they work; that we enshrine immunity provisions to protect the Commissioner of Lobbying and her delegates; that the Commissioner of Lobbying must retain a formal mandate to educate lobbyists and the members opposite; and that a list of all designated public office holders must be maintained—