The Lobbying Activities of Neelam J. Makhija on Behalf of TIR Systems, Ltd.
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Lobbying is a legitimate activity in our democratic system. When carried out ethically and transparently, in conformity with the highest standards of conduct, it can provide a useful conduit of information between government and Canadians.
The Lobbyists' Code of Conduct was developed to assure Canadians that lobbying in our country is carried out in a manner that ensures public confidence and trust in the integrity, objectivity and impartiality of government decision-making. The Lobbyists' Code of Conduct first came into effect on March 1, 1997, to complement and support the application of the Lobbyists Registration Act (Act). Individuals who must register as lobbyists in accordance with the requirements of the Act must also comply with the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct.
During the period covered by this report, individuals paid to communicate with public office holders in an attempt to influence government decisions were required to register. Public office holders include virtually anyone occupying a position in the Government of Canada, and include members of the Senate of Canada and the House of Commons and their staff, as well as officers and employees of federal departments and agencies, members of the Canadian Forces and members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
The Lobbyists' Code of Conduct establishes mandatory standards of conduct for all lobbyists communicating with Government of Canada public office holders. Like most professional codes, the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct begins with a preamble that states its purpose and places it in a broader context. Next, a body of overriding principles sets out, in positive terms, the goals and objectives to be attained, without establishing precise standards. These principles of integrity, honesty, openness and professionalism represent goals that should be pursued, and are intended as general guidance.
The principles of the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct are followed by rules that set out specific obligations and requirements. The rules are organized into three categories: transparency, confidentiality and conflict of interest. Under the rules of transparency, lobbyists have an obligation to provide accurate information to public office holders, and to disclose the identity of the persons or organizations on whose behalf the representation is made, as well as the purpose of the representation. They must also disclose to their clients, employers or organizations their obligations under the Lobbyists Registration Act and the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct itself. Under the rules of confidentiality, lobbyists cannot divulge confidential information, nor use insider information to the disadvantage of their clients, employers or organizations. Finally, under the rules of conflict of interest, lobbyists are not to represent conflicting or competing interests without the consent of their clients or to use improper influence.
Lobbyists have a legal obligation to comply with the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct. If the Registrar of Lobbyists believes on reasonable grounds that there has been a breach of the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct, the Office must initiate an investigation. Breaches of the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct do not carry fines or jail sentences, but the Registrar's report of the investigation — including the findings, conclusions and reasons for those conclusions — must be tabled before both Houses of Parliament. There is no limitation period for investigating breaches of the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct.