Former B.C. NDP cabinet ministers and party officials reinvent themselves as government lobbyists

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      In less than a week, some former public office holders will be banned lobbying the provincial government for two years after leaving office.

      But there's a catch: they have to have been members of the cabinet or staff in a cabinet minister's office or a parliamentary secretary.

      This means that a former NDP cabinet minister, Sue Hammell, may still be able to continue lobbying even though the former long-time MLA for Surrey-Green Timbers left office less than a year ago.

      Hammell is registered as an active consultant lobbyist for the First Nations Financial Management Board and Niche Canada: The National Institute for Cannabis Health and Education.

      In addition, Hammell registered as a lobbyist for the ride-hailing company Uber Canada, though her registration status is listed as "termination pending". Her daughter, Sage Aaron, is director of communications in the premier's office.

      The amendment to the Lobbyists Registration Act came as a result of a recommendation made by the registrar of lobbyists in 2013, but which was not implemented by the former B.C. Liberal government.

      The definition of public office holder in the act includes all MLAs and anyone who was an officer or employee of the government of B.C., as well as officers, directors, or employees of any government corporation defined in the Financial Administration Act.

      But the new restriction on lobbying by former public office holders doesn't catch all of them in its net.

      Several others with previous ties to the NDP have also registered as lobbyists, including former provincial party president and ex-cabinet minister Moe Sihota.

      He has been a lobbyist for Woodfibre LNG, but his registration status is now listed as "termination pending".

      Another registered lobbyist is Elizabeth Cull, a senior cabinet minister in the NDP government in the early to mid 1990s and a former chief of staff to former premier Ujjal Dosanjh.

      She's now with Hill + Knowlton Strategies, lobbying Children and Family Development Minister Katrine Conroy on behalf of Huu-ay-ahy First Nations regarding child protection.

      Cull also represents the Resource Benefit Alliance, which is hoping to obtain government support for economic initiatives in northwestern B.C.

      Former NDP tourism minister Ian Waddell is a lobbyist for the Registered Massage Therapists' Association of B.C., the B.C. Wine Institute, and a cannabis company called Farmacy Victoria.

      Meanwhile, former B.C. NDP communications director David Bieber is a consultant lobbyist on behalf of GlaxoSmithKline Inc.

      According to the lobbyist registry, this is "to raise awareness of Health Canada's approval" of its shingles vaccine.

      Bieber is also lobbying the B.C. NDP government on behalf of the Canadian Home Builders' Association of B.C., Waste Connections of Canada, Toyota Canada, Canopy Growth Corporation, the B.C. Real Estate Association, and Mobsquad.

      Also lobbying on behalf of GlaxoSmithKline, Toyota Canada, and Canopy Growth Corporation is Brad Lavigne, former NDP national campaign director and former principal secretary to former federal leader Jack Layton.

      Lavigne previously worked for two B.C. NDP premiers and was chief of staff to a former B.C. NDP finance minister.

      One of Lavigne's former protégés is Michael Gardiner. He's a former provincial director of the B.C. NDP and a former communications and policy manager for the last NDP government in the late 1990s.

      According to the lobbyist registry, Gardiner "is arranging meetings with several public office holders on behalf of IGM Mining to keep government informed of the status of the Red Mountain project, progress requirements and timing of development".

      Gardiner is also lobbying on behalf of 14 other companies and organizations, including the ride-hailing company Lyft and the shipping company Seaspan.

      Yet another lobbyist with NDP ties is Rob Nagai. His Linkedin profile identifies him as the fundraiser for major gifts for the B.C. NDP from March 2011 to December 2017.

      During this period, he raised more than $7 million from corporations for the party.

      Nagai is now a lobbyist for seven companies and organizations, including the B.C. Salmon Farmers Association and the New Car Dealers of B.C.

      Meanwhile, former B.C. NDP government director of communications Bill Tieleman is lobbying for 18 clients, mostly unions, and advocated for approval of the Site C dam. He's also a lobbyist for Landcor Data Corporation and the Tourism Industry Association of B.C. 

      There's even a B.C. lobbyist based in Calgary with NDP ties. Marcella Munro was a key organizer of Solicitor General Mike Farnworth's NDP leadership campaign in 2011. She's currently listed as a representative to the B.C. government for five clients, including TransCanada Corporation.