NDP introduces bill to close lobbying loophole

NDP Leader Ryan Meili introduced a bill today to strengthen the regulations governing lobbying of public officials in Saskatchewan. The NDP bill, which draws directly from the recommendations made by the Conflict of Interest Commissioner & Registrar of Lobbyists in his 2016-17 and 2017-18 reports, would:

  • Close the one-hundred-hour loophole so that all in-house lobbying will have to be registered and publicly disclosed.
  • Ban public office holders, including all MLAs, as well as government employees, staff to cabinet ministers, from accepting gifts.
  • End the exemption for non-profits from registering in the registry, except for non-profits with fewer than five employees.

“It’s time for this government to finally bring Saskatchewan’s conflict-of-interest legislation into the twenty-first century, and this bill aims to do just that,” Meili said. “We’ve heard that updates to the legislation may be in the works, but we want to ensure that the rules governing how, and in whose interests, public decisions are made don’t fail to actually close the loophole.”

Minister of Justice and Attorney General Don Morgan recently backtracked on an earlier willingness to close the 100-hour loophole entirely.

“Whether it’s at the federal level or closer to home, people are rightly concerned about improper influence on government decisions,” Meili said. “The bill we introduced today is about protecting the integrity of our democratic institutions, and I’m calling on the Premier and his Cabinet to do the right thing and support it.”