Report on Investigation — The Lobbying Activities of Mark Jiles
The Lobbyists' Code of Conduct
Lobbying is a legitimate activity. When carried out ethically and transparently, and in conformity with the highest standards of conduct, it can provide a useful dialogue between government and Canadians.
The Lobbyists' Code of Conduct came into effect on March 1, 1997, as a complement to the former Lobbyists Registration Act. It was instituted to assure Canadians that the lobbying of federal public office holders is carried out in a manner that ensures public confidence and trust in the integrity, objectivity and impartiality of government decision-making. Individuals who engaged in activity deemed registrable under the Lobbyists Registration Act, and now the Lobbying Act, must also comply with the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct. The Lobbyists' Code of Conduct has not changed since its introduction.
During the period covered by this report, July 2005 to June 2007, individuals paid to communicate with federal public office holders concerning the subjects listed in the relevant registration sections of the Lobbyists Registration Act, or arrange meetings with federal public office holders, were required to register their activities in the Registry of Lobbyists. The same requirements are in place today, under the current Lobbying Act. The definition of "public office holder" in the legislation is broad, and includes virtually anyone occupying a position in the Government of Canada, including members of the Senate and the House of Commons and their staff, as well as 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 individuals who engage in activity deemed registrable under the Act. 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 achieved, without establishing precise standards. The principles of Integrity and Honesty, Openness and Professionalism are set out as goals that should be pursued by lobbyists and were intended as general guidance to the profession.
The principles are followed by a series of eight rules that place specific obligations and requirements on lobbyists. 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 person or organization on whose behalf their representation is made, as well as the purpose of the representation. They must also disclose to their client, employer or organization their obligations under the Lobbying Act and the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct. Under the rules of Confidentiality, lobbyists may not divulge confidential information, nor use insider information to the disadvantage of their client, employer or organization. The Conflict of Interest rules prohibit lobbyists from representing conflicting or competing interests without the consent of those whose interests are involved or placing public office holders in a conflict of interest by proposing or undertaking any action that would constitute an improper influence.