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L20 - Interest Groups & Lobbying

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Political Science
Luc Turgeon

April 2, 2014 Interest Groups and Lobbying Key Terms • Policy community • Lobbying Interest Groups and Policy Communities • Policy Community = Numerous interest groups in a specific policy sector + Parliamentary Government • Definition: “Loose communities that form for the purpose of shaping public policy, taking the form of discrete and specialized clusters of government departments and agencies, advocacy groups, politicians, corporations, and interested individuals. • Being part of a policy community means that a group is part of the flow of information o Beneficial not only to interest groups – government often actively seeks advice from these groups; it’s a two-way process. o Free research o Legitimacy – if the government wants to propose a policy, they want the approval of these groups (don’t rock the boat) Key Targets of Interest Groups • Bureaucracy  Bureaucratic discretion as key  Potentially beneficial for both bureaucracies and interest groups • Cabinet  Senior government advisors • Parliament  Not as important to lobbying as in the US o Why? It’s a waste of resources; parliament members will vote as the prime minister or their party leader tells them  Important for groups with less access to Cabinet and the bureaucracy (i.e. NDP)  Standing Committee on Finance • Other targets? o The judiciary o The public – influence public opinion; the public behind a cause is something to reckon with Lobbying in Canada • Any organized attempt to influence the authorities, now often performed by profession lobbyist firms o Consultant lobbyists – big firms that only do lobbying and they’re hired by different corporations or associations to lobby on their behalf o In-house lobbyist – many firms will have a Department of Government Relations – the goal is to keep track of what government is doing and devise strategies to influence government. • Who are lobbyist? o Former politicians o Former political staffers – people who’ve worked in the prime m office, ex-chiefs of staff, familiar with the political game o Former bureaucrats – they know the inside • Regulation of lobbying in Canada  Only started in 1989  Must be registered, include name of client, and identify who is being lobbied and the object of their lobbying within ten days of being hired  Much lobbying is not being recorded however  FederalAccountabilityAct in 2006 o Commissioner of lobbying decides who has the right to lobby, oversees lobbying in Canada, vested with investigative powers, etc. o Prohibits senior public servants from lobbying the Canadian government for 5 years after they leave office Lobbying in Canada (Dyck) • Federal level: 45 444 registered lobbyist (2009) • Examples of large firms  Global PublicAffairs: Shall Canada, Vale Inco, CanadianAssociat
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