2020- 2022 Policy Process | Green Party of Canada
Where GPC membership collaborates to develop our policies
G21-P050 Give NGOs Equal Access to Policymakers
Ratification Vote Results: Adopted
The GPC advocates ensuring equitable access to public servants by:
- Requiring officials who recommend policy to maintain a 1:1 ratio of contacts with NGOs (live, virtual or phone) and representatives of the for-profit sector,
- Ensuring presentations and briefing notes are submitted and publicly available, and
- Prohibiting closed-door meetings where a significant conflict of interest exists.
To ensure that non-profit organizations’ opportunities to present evidence in the public interest to government officials equal similar opportunities available to industry representatives and lobbyists.
Evidence-based policymaking directs the nation’s resources responsibly by avoiding harm and maximizing public benefit rather than favouring vested interests. A study covering the period 2011-2018 showed fossil fuel industry lobbyists met with policy-makers 5 times as often as NGOs over a 7 year period. This imbalance must be redressed.
Supporting Comments from Submitter
Previous Canada Food Guides were developed with extensive lobbying from industry groups. The current Canada Food Guide was developed without participation of the food and beverage industry representatives in order to ensure that the development of dietary guidance took place free from conflict of interest. The result is that the new Guide is in line with international best evidence and has been widely praised by health groups.
“Health experts applaud Canada’s new food guide, though some question lack of portion sizes” 22 Jan. 2019.
Revision process for Canada's food guide.
Strategies used by the Canadian food and beverage Industry to influence food and nutrition policies.
A study examining federal lobbying by oil, gas and coal companies and their industry associations across a seven-year period from 2011 to 2018 found that the fossil fuel industry recorded 11,452 lobbying contacts with government officials. The sector lobbied the federal government at rates five times higher than environmental non-governmental organizations.
Canada has invested billions of dollars of COVID-19 stimulus money into the fossil fuel industry and very little into renewable energy.
Ecological Wisdom, Sustainability, Participatory Democracy, Social Justice, Respect for Diversity, Non-Violence.
Relation to Existing Policy
Add to current GPC policy.
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Many non-profit organizations are astroturfing - groups funded by large private industries in order to promote their interests, while falsely purporting to represent community interests. How can this policy be revised to ensure that it benefits authentic community organizations rather than disguised corporate lobbyists?
Great point, @Andrew Jehan! I had already voted Green before I read your comment. If this gets yellow-lit, I hope you're able to suggest that friendly amendment. In the end, what the entire lobbyist environment needs is transparency and reporting. Really, we just need to remember and bring forward G06-P69 Lobbyists. It's very detailed and robust. Then, if this information was public, who is lobbying whom, we'd be able as citizen groups to hold them accountable. I like this motion, it's just a bit of an unecessary overlap with a previously existing policy. That said, I still like it!
Here is G-06-P69 referred to by @Sarah Gabrielle Baron in her comment above:
BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Green Party of Canada will advocate:
a) the requirement for all people covered by ethics rules to report any violations of the rules, and require the ethics watchdog to protect anyone who reports a violation of ethics rules from retaliation.
b) the amendment of the Access to Information legislation to strengthen the right to disclosure of information and to strengthen enforcement of the law.
c) the requirement of Ministers and senior public officials to disclose their contacts with all paid lobbyists.
d) the inclusion of measures and provisions to prevent people from exploiting any loopholes as part of lobbying and ethics rules.
e) that the Registrar for Lobbyists be appointed at arms length from government, based on merit, and that s/he, as enforcer of the Lobbyists Code of Conduct, report directly to Parliament.
Conversation with Jamie Ker
Disagree with the proposal on the same grounds as Sarah
changed my mind: it's a good proposal
Conversation with Shel Goldstein
While very in favour of the objectives of this proposal, I do wish that it had been amended to repair "to maintain a 1:1 ratio of contacts with NGOs (live, virtual or phone) and representatives of the for-profit sector", which would force a policy maker to seek out industry lobbyists IF citizens' groups and NGOs advocated so effectively as to outnumber industry inputs. I don't think a strict 1:1 ratio is necessary.
Interesting observation @Shel Goldstein. It would be fun if it ever reached the point that ENGO contacts outnumbered the well-funded commercial and self-interested lobbyists. By that time we would certainly want to reconsider that 1:1 ratio objective.
There have been some helpful comments here. The observation about astro-turfing; the existence of a similar policy already, and perhaps some other way of expressing the need for transparency in the lobbying industry overall should be considered. If there were interest in doing some work-shopping of this policy so that it can be improved, we certainly can get together before the next General Meeting, and prepare an amended policy proposal to present at that meeting.
This would be a good place to start that conversation. The Rocket Chat is also available, and we can certainly work out ways to work together on it.
Conversation with Peter Royle
How a controversy over GMOs exposed holes in Canada’s lobbying laws
By Marc Fawcett-Atkinson | News | October 17th 2022 National Obserber
A controversy over an industry lobbyist's input into draft guidelines for genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has exposed gaping loopholes in Canada's lobbying laws, experts say.
Jennifer Hubert, the executive director of plant bioengineering at CropLife Canada — one of Canada's largest agrochemical lobbies — appears to have written an early draft of proposed guidelines for the Canada Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) that would exempt seed companies from disclosing genetically modified products to consumers.
Metadata shows her as the creator of the Microsoft Word document leaked to Radio-Canada last month and indicates it was later modified by CFIA. Neither group denies CropLife Canada had input in the drafting process, but both maintain CFIA will have full control over the final product.
The document outlines CFIA proposals for how the government should interpret regulations for GMO seeds and supports an approach that would allow major seed companies to put some genetically engineered seeds on the market without publicly disclosing their products are GMOs.
The approach would hit Canada's organic farmers especially hard because they are prohibited from using genetically engineered seeds and other GMOs. Without this disclosure, organic farmers will struggle to know if their seeds are genetically engineered or not.
A day after the story broke, on Sept. 20, federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau assured farmers she has directed CFIA to ensure the pending regulations will not impact organic certifications. She gave no details about how the agency would protect the organic industry.
You can follow this link to read the complete article, which will also allow you to connect to related articles.
Sorry! Here is the link to the article: http://bitly.ws/vx7j
Here is another article from the National Observer concerning the enormous power that the Fossil Fuel lobby has over Government:
Of course, there are some others Big Corps suddenly interested in their top line (no longer the bottom line) profits. Surprise, surprise: Big Pharma:
Newsletter | February 15 2023
Big Pharma lobbying soared after Liberals and NDP promised progress on pharmacare
By Natasha Bulowski | News, Politics, Ottawa Insider
View email in your browser:
Another article from the National Post concerning the increasing power the lobby industry will have, if these rules go into effect:
Lawyers and professors rally against proposed changes to lobbying rules
By Cloe Logan | News | March 8th 2023
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