The Federal Accountability Act, which includes a section strengthening the lobbying rules on reporting, was approved by Parliament late last year after the Conservatives, inspired by the Gomery inquiry and sponsorship scandal, made cleaning up the federal government their top promise during the 2006 election.Remember that the Accountability Act itself received royal assent before the end of 2006. Which means that the Cons have managed to spend nearly 10 months since the passage of the bill without even having a draft set of regulations ready yet.
But the Treasury Board Secretariat has been engaged in consultations with the lobbying industry ever since to draft the regulations that will bring the legislation into force.
A spokesman at Treasury Board said the regulations, which will outline what has to be reported with the lobbyist registry, are still being drafted and will eventually be presented to Treasury Board ministers for approval.
And it's not as if there's any particular reason for delay. As noted by the article, the only real area of contention involves what kinds of contact between lobbyists and officials will be included within the regulations. But that should be a relatively issue to resolve: any choice to exclude specific types of communication would both break the Cons' initial promise to require disclosure of all lobbying, and completely undermine the purpose of ensuring that the public is able to know what lobbying activity has taken place.
Of course, it seems all too likely that the Cons aren't too concerned with either of those problems, and will instead accede to the wishes of the lobbyists themselves now that it's their own party's associates who figure to benefit most from such a move. And it'll be up to the opposition parties to make sure that neither the lobbyist issue in particular nor the rest of the Cons' broken promises on accountability are allowed to fade away entirely as the Cons attempt to change the subject.