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Opinion

Five-year ban only on being a registered lobbyist, not on lobbying

By Duff Conacher      

The ban should be changed into a sliding scale from one to five years that applies to all politicians, staff, appointees, and government officials—with a longer cooling-off period for people who have more power and connections, and a shorter cooling-off period for people with neither. The commissioner of lobbying should be empowered to decide the specific period for each person.

Staffers, journalists, and lobbyists, pictured at D'Arcy McGee's Pub in Ottawa at a party. Right now backbench MPs have the same cooling-off period as the PM, cabinet ministers and senior government officials. That doesn't make sense in most cases, writes Duff Conacher. The Hill Times photograph by Jake Wright
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Rather than scrap the so-called five-year ban on lobbying which will only increase the level of unethical lobbying in Ottawa, as a May 3 Globe and Mail editorial pointed out, how about actually making it a ban, and then adjusting it to make it more fair and effective ("Five-year ban on lobbying excessive, say former political staffers," The Hill Times, May 2, p. 1). As is unfortunately usually not mentioned, the five-year ban is only a ban on being

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