Report on Investigation — The Lobbying Activities of Keith Beardsley (page 9 of 9)

Conclusions

Companies and other organizations attempting to put forward their views on federal laws, regulations and policies, or to obtain licences and certifications required under federal law, sometimes hire lobbyists to assist them through the process. These individuals may also arrange meetings between the company or organization and government officials or communicate with government officials to clarify the details of a company's proposal or to negotiate the terms of an agreement.

These are legitimate actions on the part of companies and organizations and those they hire. The Lobbying Act acknowledges this legitimacy but imposes certain obligations of disclosure and behaviour on those who, for payment, undertake to assist companies in this way.

I have taken both the report of the Investigations Directorate and the views of Mr. Beardsley into consideration in reaching my conclusions. I have determined that Mr. Beardsley, while engaged in the activities of True North Public Affairs (TNPA) on behalf of its clients at DAVE Wireless, left a voicemail message with a public office holder, with the objective of arranging a meeting on behalf of his client. He did so for payment by DAVE Wireless to TNPA. This is an activity that requires registration by consultant lobbyists under the Lobbying Act. However, Mr. Beardsley was subject to the five-year prohibition on lobbying activity under the Act.

This chapter summarizes my conclusions regarding the activities of Mr. Beardsley on behalf of his clients, and my reasons for reaching these conclusions.

1. Whether Mr. Beardsley communicated with a federal public office holder in respect of subjects listed in paragraph 5(1)(a) of the Lobbying Act

The evidence indicates that Mr. Beardsley's role at True North Public Affairs on behalf of his clients at DAVE Wireless was to provide them with strategic advice and guidance in obtaining access to key federal public office holders. The goal of this activity was to communicate the perspective of DAVE Wireless regarding the CRTC decision and the prospect of related government action in order to facilitate a positive outcome for DAVE Wireless.

However, there is no indication that the work undertaken by Mr. Beardsley on behalf of his clients involved communications with federal public office holders of a nature that falls within the definition of registrable lobbying activity in the Lobbying Act. As a result, based on the information before me, I take the view that Mr. Beardsley was not required to register as a lobbyist under the provisions of paragraph 5(1)(a) of the Lobbying Act.

2. Whether Mr. Beardsley arranged a meeting between a public office holder and any other person

The evidence obtained during the course of this investigation indicates that on November 20, 2009, Mr. Beardsley left a message on the voicemail system of Mr. Nauta, seeking to arrange a meeting between a federal public office holder and his client, DAVE Wireless.

I have concluded that Mr. Beardsley, on behalf of DAVE Wireless, sought to arrange a meeting between a public office holder and his client. This is a registrable lobbying activity if performed for payment and on behalf of a client pursuant to paragraph 5(1)(b) of the Lobbying Act.

3. Whether Mr. Beardsley did so for payment

Evidence obtained during the course of the investigation demonstrates that the work performed by True North Public Affairs on behalf of DAVE Wireless was for payment. Mr. Beardsley was a consultant engaged by TNPA, and managed the DAVE Wireless account on behalf of TNPA.

TNPA was engaged by DAVE Wireless on November 20, 2009. The contract was to "…provide consulting services to DAVE Wireless in respect of its efforts to communicate with Government of Canada officials regarding the recent CRTC decision concerning Globalive." TNPA received payment for the services rendered on behalf of DAVE Wireless on December 17, 2009. I take the view that when a company or organization, such as a consulting firm, is paid by clients to perform activities on its behalf, the employees or members of the company or organization performing those activities receive payment for the services that they provide.

4. Whether Mr. Beardsley engaged in registrable lobbying activity under the Lobbying Act

Based on the information before me, I have concluded that Mr. Beardsley engaged in activity requiring registration as a consultant lobbyist pursuant to paragraph 5(1)(b) of the Lobbying Act. That activity was as attempt to arrange a meeting with a federal public office holder on behalf of his client, for payment. However, he was subject to the five-year prohibition on lobbying at the time and as a result, prohibited from engaging in this lobbying activity.

5. Whether Mr. Beardsley was in breach of the Principle of Professionalism

Individuals who conduct activities requiring registration as a lobbyist must comply with the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct, which is based on a body of overriding principles, one of which is the Principle of Professionalism.

Professionalism

Lobbyists should observe the highest professional and ethical standards. In particular, lobbyists should conform fully with not only the letter but the spirit of the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct as well as all the relevant laws, including the Lobbying Act and its regulations.

By engaging in registrable lobbying activity while prohibited from lobbying under the Lobbying Act, Mr. Beardsley engaged in activity on behalf of DAVE Wireless that was in breach of the Principle of Professionalism in the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct.

I take the view that individuals who are engaged in registrable lobbying activity, whether registered or not, must comply with the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct.