La commissaire au lobbying ne fait pas son travail

Les groupes d’intérêts ont un des effets les plus pervers de la démocratie représentative.

On peut définir les groupes d'intérêt comme des regroupements organisés de votants (ou d'entreprises) ayant des préférences semblables pour une politique spécifique.

En concentrant leur lobbying sur une mesure particulière, ces groupes peuvent gagner l'adoption d'une politique qui leur vaut des bénéfices directs, tout en en diluant le coût sur des millions de contribuables ou de consommateurs.

Ces groupes seront donc disposés à engager des ressources pour obtenir des mesures qui les favorisent. On désigne le fardeau de ces investissements qui ne servent qu'à opérer des transferts de richesse, comme la course aux faveurs ou aux rentes.

(L’État ne crée aucune richesse, elle ne fait que la redistribuer).


Extrait de : La commissaire au lobbying ne fait pas son travail , Bryn Weese, le Journal de Montréal, 23/02/2011

OTTAWA – Un groupe de revendication accuse la commissaire au lobbying du Canada de ne pas faire son travail.

Democraty Watch a fustigé Karen Shepherd, mercredi, l'accusant, entre autres, d’avoir produit trop peu de rapports au Parlement.

L'organisme a demandé à la vérificatrice générale Sheila Fraser de se pencher sur la performance de Mme Shepherd, comme cela a été fait avec l’ancienne commissaire à l’intégrité du secteur public, Christiane Ouimet.

Mme Fraser avait déterminé lors de cette vérification que Mme Ouimet avait maltraité ses employés et que cette dernière avait omis d’enquêter sur la plupart des plaintes portées à son attention par des fonctionnaires dénonciateurs.

Democracy Watch reproche justement à Mme Shepherd de ne pas avoir donné suite aux plaintes déposées contre des lobbyistes et de n’avoir conclu que trois enquêtes en trois ans.

Le bureau de la commissaire a répliqué, mercredi, disant qu'elle prenait toutes les allégations d'actes fautifs au sérieux, et qu’elle faisait régulièrement rapport au Parlement.


Extrait de: Federal Commissioner of Lobbying Karen Shepherd ruled publicly on two cases in past three years, Democracy Watch, Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Federal Commissioner of Lobbying Karen Shepherd likely sitting on at least 100 cases -- and has only ruled publicly on two cases in past three years

Auditor General must audit -- Commissioner has worse disclosure record than disgraced former Integrity Commissioner, and equally bad enforcement record

OTTAWA - Today, Democracy Watch released the letter it sent yesterday to federal Commissioner of Lobbying Karen Shepherd concerning her very weak disclosure and enforcement record over the past three years. 

Démocraty Watch - LetterThe 12-page letter reviews in detail her two annual reports and many committee appearances, and while it is very difficult to determine exactly because of vague and conflicting reports and testimony, it seems that Commissioner Shepherd has not disclosed details about what she has done with at least 100 cases of alleged violations of either or both the Lobbying Act or Lobbyists' Code of Conduct (almost half of which are more than three years old, and including six complaints filed by Democracy Watch -- five between 2001 and 2004, and one (the Rick Dykstra complaint) in October 2009).

As well, Commissioner Shepherd has released only two public rulings in the past three years (finally, just last week).  In testimony before a House committee in December 2010, she revealed that she had, with still secret rulings, let at least 16 lobbyists off the hook even though she had clear evidence that they had violated either the Act or Code (and she has not released any of the rulings nor disclosed the identity of any of the 16 lobbyists).

Democracy Watch is calling on Commissioner Shepherd to release within 30 days details of all complaints received, and reviews and investigations undertaken, and referrals to the RCMP and rulings made, since 2005, and to release all details of future cases and rulings in her future annual reports, and at least twice each year to a parliamentary committee.

Democracy Watch is also calling on the Auditor General to conduct a performance audit of the Commissioner of Lobbying office similar to that completed for the now disgraced former Public Sector Integrity Commissioner's office.

Commissioner Shepherd's annual reports provide less information about number of complaints received, and how each case was addressed, than the reports of former Integrity Commissioner.  And like the Integrity Commissioner, Commissioner Shepherd has failed to issue public rulings in dozens of cases, and seems to have let many lobbyists off the hook for violations.

"In Democracy Watch's opinion, the federal Commissioner of Lobbying must be audited by the Auditor General because her disclosure record is weaker, and her enforcement record is as weak, as the record of the disgraced former Public Sector Integrity Commissioner," said Duff Conacher, Coordinator of Democracy Watch and Chairperson of the nation-wide Government Ethics Coalition.  "Combined with huge loopholes in the law left open by the so-called Accountability Act, and the fact that the RCMP and Crown prosecutors have failed to charge or prosecute anyone for violating the lobbying law in the past 22 years, it is clear that the federal lobbying law and ethics enforcement system is an ongoing joke." (To see details about the loopholes, click here)

Commissioner Shepherd's annual reports are also less clear than the reports of her predecessor Registrar of Lobbyists Michael Nelson as he included summaries of cases, and details concerning number of cases dealt with each fiscal year (although his reports lack clarity in some ways as well).

It is clear from Registrar Nelson's last annual report for fiscal year 2007-2008 that he passed on to Commissioner Shepherd a total of 36 administrative reviews, six investigations and one case referred to the RCMP and Crown prosecutors (43 cases in total).

It seems from Commissioner Shepherd's reports and testimony up to the end of 2010 that she has undertaken at least 43 new reviews and eight investigations, and referred at least six cases to the RCMP and Crown prosecutors (57 cases in total, although again vague reports and testimony make the exact number of cases difficult to determine).

As a result, Commissioner Shepherd seems to have at least 100 cases on file about which details have never been released.

Commissioner Shepherd has been with the lobbying enforcement office since 2004, became acting Commissioner in July 2008, and full Commissioner in 2009.