Danielle In QP, October 31: Lobbying Government

Ms Smith: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It’s fitting that we’re sitting on Halloween because it’s getting scary out there. It looks like the government has been possessed, so we’re grateful that the Chief Electoral Officer is investigating this phenomenon. But there’s another aspect beyond donations, lobbying. The Minister of Finance has described a number of meetings and a number of decisions related to the Katz Group and its interest in casinos and arenas. Is the Finance minister aware of the strict rules about lobbying and the sanctions for breaching those rules?

Mr. Horner: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

Ms Smith: That’s good to know. While we wait for the Minister of Finance to deliver on his commitment yesterday to provide details of the meetings about these matters, can he at least tell us who the registered lobbyist is that the government met with on behalf of the Katz Group through 2011 and 2012?

Mr. Horner: Mr. Speaker, throughout 2011 I did not meet with any of the Katz Group or with any lobbyists. I was actively engaged in a leadership race throughout 2011, so I can’t speak to 2011. As the hon. member well knows, the definition for registry of a lobbyist is someone who spends more than 100 hours, but if you’re meeting with the president of a corporation [interjections] – wait for it – they don’t necessarily register themselves as a lobbyist because they’re there on behalf of their corporation. I would also add, Mr. Speaker: how many people in Edmonton do you think don’t know what Mr. Katz is trying to do?

Ms Smith: That’s very interesting, Mr. Speaker, because given that the Katz Group did register as a lobbyist in 2009 and did register as a lobbyist in 2010, but the lobbyist registry shows no record of anyone registered to lobby on behalf of the Katz Group in either 2011 or 2012, can the minister explain this discrepancy?

Mr. Horner: Well, Mr. Speaker, a lobbyist is someone who is hired by the corporation. In fact, the hon. member is right. I’m glad that for once they’ve done their homework. Now, the lobbyist that was registered in 2009 and 2010 was Mr. Peter Elzinga. Mr. Peter Elzinga was the registered lobbyist for them. Two and a half years ago, when I met with the Katz Group, with their lobbyist Mr. Elzinga, that was when they brought up the concept of whether we would consider changing the charitable gaming model. I said that the answer was no then, we’ve said that the answer is no today, and the answer will be no tomorrow.