Councillors call for registry of all city hall lobbyists

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Two senior city councillors say it's time Winnipeg created a lobbyists registry.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 07/03/2014 (3082 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Two senior city councillors say it’s time Winnipeg created a lobbyists registry.

Scott Fielding and Dan Vandal said keeping a public record of the professionals who deal with politicians and senior administrators and what they’re talking about is vital to ensuring public trust and accountability at city hall.

“Not that there is anything wrong with lobbying, but creating a lobbyists registry can help restore trust in the decision-making process at city hall,” Fielding (St. James-Brooklands) said. “I expect there will be some pretty broad-based support for it.”

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Couns. Scott Fielding (left) and Dan Vandal are championing a lobbyist registry.

Fielding said the registry would keep track of all contact between professionals and councillors and senior administrators, and what they’re talking about.

“Lobbying is something that takes place but having a registry is vital to transparency and openness to what’s taking place,” Fielding said, adding city hall has taken a beating in the last 18 months over allegations of covert influence with politicians and administrators.

Fielding, who is considering running for mayor in the October election, will bring the motion to council, with Vandal supporting it.

Fielding said Toronto and Ottawa already have their own municipal registries, adding he’s asking other members of council to instruct the administration to look at what’s been done in other municipalities and several provincial governments and come back with an implementation plan in 60 days.

“We’re not asking (administration) to reinvent the wheel,” Fielding said. “There are registries elsewhere that can be used as a model.”

Fielding said a lobbyists registry wouldn’t apply to a resident contacting their ward councillor, mayor or city staff.

“It would be paid lobbyists from the business community and others,” he said, including groups that approach city hall with initiatives. “Citizens deserve to know who’s talking to who.”

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

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