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NDP seeking tighter rules for lobbyists

The NDP proposed legislation yesterday which would require “grassroots communicators” to register as lobbyists.

The NDP proposed legislation yesterday which would require “grassroots communicators” to register as lobbyists.

If accepted, the amendments to the lobbying act announced yesterday by Service Nova Scotia Minister Ramona Jennex would require individuals, groups or companies who encourage the public to communicate directly with public office holders would have to register with the province.

In other words, if a company was paid to encourage the public to write or call MLAs on an issue, that company would have to disclose that publicly and register with the province.

“The idea is to make (the efforts of those groups) more open and transparent,” said Hayley Clarke, the province’s registrar of lobbyists.

Clarke could not point to a specific example of “grassroots communications” in Nova Scotia, but she said it’s becoming a problem in North America.

“We’ve all seen media campaigns generally saying ‘write your MLA,’ ‘contact your government about this issue.’” She said. “And sometimes … it’s done to targeted special interest groups, so the public may not be aware of it.”

The amendments would only target individuals or organizations that are paid to lobby, not private citizens.

 
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