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Group calls on federal Lobbying Commissioner to disclose key details of her enforcement record since 2014

Can’t tell from annual reports how many new alleged violations she learns about each year, how long she takes to review allegations, and how many outstanding cases she has at the end of each fiscal year

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

OTTAWA – Democracy Watch released the letter it sent today to federal Commissioner of Lobbying Karen Shepherd calling on her to disclose key details of her enforcement record of the Lobbying Act and Lobbyists’ Code of Conduct since March 2014.

In her annual reports from 2011 to 2014, Commissioner Shepherd disclosed how many new cases arose each year, how many were reviewed and closed, and (in her 2013-2014 annual report), how many cases she had outstanding at the end of the fiscal year.

In her annual reports since 2014, Commissioner Shepherd does not include in her annual report that key information needed to determine whether she is dealing with allegations of violations in a timely, effective way. As well, while Commissioner Shepherd provides some details in annual Compliance Statistics reports on her website, she has not published such a report for the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

As a result, it is impossible to tell, since March 31, 2014: how long Commissioner Shepherd takes on average to review a complaint/situation; how many complaints/situations Commissioner Shepherd has reviewed from what years since then; whether any of the 38 outstanding complaints/situations that Commissioner Shepherd had before her as of March 31, 2014 are still outstanding; and other key details needed to assess Commissioner Shepherd’s enforcement record.

Democracy Watch’s letter calls on Commissioner Shepherd to disclose this information for each fiscal year since 2014 on her website very soon.

“Lobbying Commissioner Shepherd, like all other officers of parliament and law enforcement agencies, has a duty to provide the public with all the information needed to assess her enforcement record,” said Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch. “Democracy Watch hopes that Lobbying Commissioner Shepherd will very soon make public key details about her enforcement record since 2014 so her record for the past three years can be fully assessed.”

In July, Democracy Watch filed court cases challenging the Trudeau Cabinet’s reappointment of both federal Lobbying Commissioner Karen Shepherd and Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson to their third six-month terms since their multi-year term in office expired in July 2016.

Democracy Watch has also requested that Commissioner Shepherd remove herself from investigating and ruling on several complaints it has filed since last October, and on another complaint it filed in July, concerning lobbyists’ relationships with the Trudeau Cabinet, given that she has been essentially serving at the pleasure of the Trudeau Cabinet since July 2016.

Democracy Watch is also calling on the Trudeau Cabinet to establish an actually new, actually independent and merit-based appointment process for the Lobbying Commissioner and all other officers of Parliament and federal law enforcement agencies, boards, commissions and tribunals.

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Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch
Tel: (613) 241-5179
Cell: 416-546-3443
[email protected]

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