The Lobbying Activities of GPG-Green Power Generation Corp. and Patrick Glémaud and Rahim Jaffer
As Commissioner of Lobbying, I have the responsibility to investigate allegations of activities that might be in breach of laws and rules surrounding lobbying at the federal level. This case came to my attention as a result of media coverage of the activities of Mr. Rahim Jaffer, a former Member of Parliament, and Mr. Patrick Glémaud, who were the principals of GPG-Green Power Generation Corp. (also known as Green Power Generation or GPG). I commenced an administrative review in April 2010 and opened an investigation in May 2010.
Lobbyists have certain legal and professional obligations to follow when they work on behalf of clients or employers. Under the Lobbying Act, individual consultant lobbyists are required to file a return with the Commissioner if, for payment, they undertake to arrange meetings or communicate with public office holders in respect of: the development of any legislative proposal; the introduction, passage, defeat or amendment of any Bill or resolution; the making or amendment of any regulation; the development or amendment of any policy or program; the awarding of any grant, contribution or financial benefit; or, the awarding of any contract.
In-house (corporation) lobbyists
Under the Lobbying Act, the most senior officer of a corporation or an organization has a duty to file a registration on behalf of the corporation or organization when a person or persons employed by the corporation or organization engage in lobbying activities that meet the requirements set out in the Lobbying Act. Those activities include communicating with public office holders in respect of: the development of any legislative proposal; the introduction, passage, defeat or amendment of any Bill or resolution; the making or amendment of any regulation; the development or amendment of any policy or program; and, the awarding of any grant, contribution or financial benefit.
The information received by my Office indicated that Mr. Jaffer and Mr. Glémaud may have been engaged in lobbying activities during a period of time when neither of them was registered as a lobbyist, and Green Power Generation was not registered as employing in-house (corporation) lobbyists.
I opened an administrative review on April 12, 2010. During April and May 2010, I received a series of disclosures from public office holders, in the form of copies of correspondence between GPG and various government departments. Much of that correspondence was also disclosed to media outlets and made public on the Internet. The correspondence concerned "project proposals" that GPG had forwarded to selected government institutions.
Three requests for investigation from Members of Parliament were received by my office. On April 12, 2010, I received a letter from the Honourable Marlene Jennings, P.C. (MP, Notre-Dame-de-Grâce – Lachine) requesting that I investigate possible violations of the Lobbying Act by Mr. Jaffer and Mr. Glémaud. On April 14, 2010, I received a letter from Mr. Mark Holland (MP, Ajax-Pickering), providing additional information and supporting Ms. Jennings' request for an investigation. On April 27, 2010, I received a letter from Mr. Francis Valeriote (MP, Guelph), making further allegations regarding violations of the Lobbying Act by Mr. Glémaud.
A review of the requests for investigation, information reported by the media, and disclosures from public office holders received by my Office led to the identification of ten allegations for investigation. This included two allegations that concerned only Mr. Glémaud's activities.
In May 2010, I opened an investigation because I had reason to believe one was necessary to ensure compliance with the Lobbying Act or the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct. The Investigations Directorate of my Office conducted the investigation. The results of the investigation provided me with reasonable grounds to believe that in four of the ten allegations, Mr. Glémaud and/or Mr. Jaffer had engaged in unregistered lobbying activity on behalf of Green Power Generation. In another instance, I had reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. Glémaud engaged in unregistered lobbying as a consultant lobbyist. Subsection 10.4(7) of the Lobbying Act (Act) provides that if I have reasonable grounds to believe that a person has committed an offence under the Lobbying Act or any other Act of Parliament, I must immediately suspend the investigation and advise a peace officer having jurisdiction to investigate the offence. On October 29, 2010, I did so, sending a copy of the Investigations Directorate's report and supporting documents to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
In a letter received on March 29, 2011, the RCMP advised me that they had closed their file due to the potential limitations for prosecution under the Lobbying Act. On April 5, 2011, I determined that I had sufficient grounds to continue with a Lobbyists' Code of Conduct investigation and I instructed the Investigations Directorate to resume the investigation of the activities of Mr. Glémaud and Mr. Jaffer.
In August 2011, Mr. Glémaud and Mr. Jaffer were provided with an opportunity to present their views on the reports of the Investigations Directorate. Each of them did so. After considering the comments of Mr. Glémaud and Mr. Jaffer, I prepared this Report to Parliament.
In this report, I conclude that Mr. Glémaud and Mr. Jaffer both communicated with public office holders in respect of the awarding of a grant, contribution or other financial benefit on behalf of a corporation, GPG-Green Power Generation Corp. They did so as the principals of a corporation that Mr. Glémaud had incorporated to explore green power generation opportunities in Canada. Their lobbying activities on behalf of GPG constituted a significant part of their duties as performed on behalf of the corporation. In my opinion, GPG was a commercial enterprise created by Mr. Glémaud and Mr. Jaffer with the intention of generating revenue. As a result, they engaged in activities that required them to register as in-house (corporation) lobbyists.
Mr. Glémaud, as the most senior officer of GPG, was the officer responsible for filing lobbyist registration returns. Mr. Jaffer, as the only other employee of the corporation, had an obligation to ensure that any lobbying activity he performed on behalf of the corporation was properly registered by the responsible officer of the corporation. By neglecting to meet these responsibilities, I conclude that they breached the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct, specifically the Principle of Professionalism and Rule 2 (Accurate information) with respect to some of the allegations against them. I also conclude that Mr. Jaffer breached Rule 3 (Disclosure of obligations).
In addition, Mr. Glémaud, in carrying out certain activities when paid to act as legal counsel to RLP Energy Inc., engaged in activity requiring registration as a consultant lobbyist when he communicated and arranged meetings with federal public office holders on behalf of his client. I conclude that his failure to do so also placed him in breach of the aforementioned Principle and Rules of the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct.
Key Lessons from this Report on Investigation
The activities of Mr. Glémaud and Mr. Jaffer were subject to much public scrutiny. Throughout this process, a number of statements were made by the subjects of the investigation and others, demonstrating misconceptions regarding the registration requirements under the Lobbying Act and the application of the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct. This Report on Investigation corrects some of those misconceptions about lobbying. Most notably, it clarifies the following:
- registration is required whether or not a lobbyist achieves the desired outcome;
- registration is required whether or not the lobbyist has been explicitly hired as a "lobbyist" by the client;
- registration is required whether or not a corporation or organization has generated revenue; and
- requests for government funding are considered to be "communication in respect of the awarding of a grant, contribution or other financial benefit" even if the requests are not lengthy and detailed proposals.