The MLA for Memramcook-Tantramar is questioning why the province is using registered lobbyists who are also political insiders to call the shots on municipal reform.
During the legislature’s Question Period on Thursday, Megan Mitton named several provincially appointed transition co-ordinators listed on New Brunswick’s registry of lobbyists.
They include Moncton communications consultant Chad Peters who is being paid $1,200 a day to guide the forced amalgamation of Sackville with Dorchester and three local service districts.
Mitton also mentioned registered lobbyists and political insiders William Thompson and Maurice Robichaud.
“What topics are these individuals lobbying his government on,” Mitton asked the minister of local government reform, “and does he see it as a conflict of interest that someone registered to lobby his department is working as a transition facilitator for the province?”
Minister Daniel Allain replied that there’s no conflict of interest because the list of lobbyists is public and besides, he said, the province needed knowledgeable transition facilitators.
“These are people who know how the system works…They’re great people who have extensive knowledge of the way government works,” he said.
New Brunswick’s registry of lobbyists shows that Peters’s current activity involves lobbying on behalf of Rayan Investments, a Moncton-based company that is Atlantic Canada’s only glass recycler.
His list of lobbying targets include Premier Blaine Higgs, Daniel Allain as well as Finance Minister Ernie Steeves and Environment Minister Gary Crossman.
His lobbying focus is given as: “Reducing the amount of waste going to landfills by improving recycling opportunities throughout New Brunswick.”
The registry also lists Peters’s past lobbying efforts. For more details on each one, click here:
As reported previously, Peters is president and CEO of Lynwood Strategies, a Moncton-based communications agency that helps its corporate clients protect and enhance their reputations partly by using social and traditional media and partly by aligning their “goals with those of government.”
In 2007, Peters ran unsuccessfully in a provincial by-election as the Conservative candidate in Moncton East. At the time, he worked for the Tories in Fredericton as manager of policy and research.
“Minister Daniel Allain replied that there’s no conflict of interest because the list of lobbyists is public…”. Whether a conflct of interest is made public or not, it is still a conflict of interest. Minister Allain’s reasoning seems typical of our current provincial government’s thought processes. Premier Higgs’ close ties to the Irving empire have been made public, but it is still a conflict of interest, as witnessed by the recent boundary change (after the government stated that there would not be any more boundary changes allowed) that excludes Irving owned land from Entity 40. Bill Evans was right when he stated that our municipal government should have nothing to do with this forced amalgamation process since it has not been allowed any real input in the decision making anyway.