For any of you who aren’t too busy mulling over media ethics or keening over the imminent departure of the most quoteable senior official in the whole of PMO, here’s a serendipitous bit of followup to what turned out to be a most enlightening discussion that took place earlier today during the final day of hearings at the Oliphant Commission on the cooling-off period imposed on departing public office holders.
(Wait! This is fascinating stuff! Why are you running away?)
Anyway, earlier this week, ITQ found her mind wandering back towards to a post she wrote a few months back on the five-year prohibition on post-employment lobbying; more specifically, the exemption review process, which allows former public office holders to apply for an exemption to the ban. At that time, a grand total of seven requests had been made, and only one had been granted.
“I wonder what’s happened since then,” ITQ wondered. So she dashed off a note to the always helpful communications office at the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying, and just a day later, she received the following response:
As of today and since the coming into force of the Lobbying Act on July 2, 2008, here are our stats regarding exemption requests to the five-year prohibition: 9 exemption request received, of which:
- 2 requests have been granted
- 3 requests have not been not granted
- 1 request closed because of insufficient information
- 3 requests under review
What we don’t know, however, are any details of the two exemptions that, according to Dawson’s testimony this morning, have been granted under the Conflict of Interest Act, which prohibits former PHOs from engaging in a far wider-ranging list of activities for either one or two years following their departure from public life:
(1) No former reporting public office holder shall enter into a contract of service with, accept an appointment to a board of directors of, or accept an offer of employment with, an entity with which he or she had direct and significant official dealings during the period of one year immediately before his or her last day in office.
(2) No former reporting public office holder shall make representations whether for remuneration or not, for or on behalf of any other person or entity to any department, organization, board, commission or tribunal with which he or she had direct and significant official dealings during the period of one year immediately before his or her last day in office.
(3) No former reporting public office holder who was a minister of the Crown or minister of state shall make representations to a current minister of the Crown or minister of state who was a minister of the Crown or a minister of state at the same time as the former reporting public office holder.
(1) With respect to all former reporting public office holders except former ministers of the Crown and former ministers of state, the prohibitions set out in subsections 35 (1) and (2) apply for the period of one year following the former reporting public office holder’s last day in office.
(2) With respect to former ministers of the Crown and former ministers of state, the prohibitions set out in subsections 35(1) to
(3) apply for a period of two years following their last day in office.
Oh, and as we also learned this morning, the only post-employment reporting requirement is that former ministers and parliamentary secretaries “report to the Commissioner any communication or meetings as defined in paragraphs 5.(1)(a) and (b) of the Lobbying Act (section 37)” for two years after leaving office. Which ITQ hasn’t actually managed to get her head around, because — aren’t they actually prohibited from engaging in such activities for two years?
Anyway, ITQ will do her best to make sense out of these seemingly contradictory requirements, and track down more information on that other exemption process tomorrow. See how educational these public policy sessions can be?