A big mistake made by ex-mayor David Miller was to institutionalize lobbying by spending $1 million to establish a registry for lobbyists. That makes the shady practise seem legitimate.
Plainly, lobbying is more than mere salesmanship. If it weren’t, then company sales personnel would make appointments with bureaucrats and politicians to flog their wares. Corporations wouldn’t hire specialized outfits that make a career out of convincing our civic rulers to deal with their clients in exchange for (you fill in the blank).
Other lobbying practises include seeking rule changes to benefit their clients. In all cases, it’s a monetary benefit to a moneyed party willing to buy.
The opportunities for corruption are rife with lobbyists conniving their ways around city hall.
Given his proclivity for self-exception and deluding himself into thinking whatever he wishes is virtuous, Mayor Rob Ford not only thinks that’s a fine thing, but doesn’t even think lobbyists should be limited to business days and hours as has been recently suggested.
Yet that limitation should be an immediate first step. Quickly on the heels of that should be outlawing the practise altogether. Sales people should make appointments during working hours with a combined group of appropriate city staff and affected city councillors to pitch their wares or concerns. That practically eliminates the chance of under-the-table dealing and increases the public’s waning confidence in the honour of our city government.