Saturday, July 15, 2006

Taking Your Lobbying to the Provinces

Most important in your government relations the further way you get from lobbying Ottawa and closer to local levels is one simple rule.

Think locally--before you act globally. As an advocate for a cause or a business, you can most likely have the best leverage with your own legislator, then with legislators representing other ridings in your province. Normally, if you want a bill sponsored or amendments made, you would go through your own legislator. Try getting municipal (and school board members if applicable) leaders on board. Because municipal leaders most often have a closer link to provincial legislators, they may provide a useful link in getting your agenda pushed one step further.

Second, do your homework. To be an effective voice you need to know where policymakers stand on specific bills or even particular funding programs. In some provinces such as Quebec, MNAs (Members of the National Assembly) even have specifically set aside budgets for various non-profit and infrastructure programes. If you are aware of where they have stood on these issues, you will be a step ahead of the gaqme.

Through your efforts, you'll identify key advocates, with a variety of viewpoints, who work in the public eye and behind the scenes.

To learn more about the policymakers and their positions,

* keep track of what officials say in the media;
* attend meetings and hearings (or obtain copies of transcripts or summaries if necessary);
* directly request a policymaker's statement of position; and
* learn the names and numbers of appropriate bills, their sponsors, and the rationale for support or opposition;
* check the World Wide Web pages many legislators now maintain.

Third, just as at the federal level, make sure you've registered your activites with the appropriate provincial lobbyist registration commission. Here are the links to a few of Canada's lobbyist registration agents:


Office of the Integrity Commissioner

Nova Scotia
Registry of Lobbyists

British Columbia
Office of the Lobbyists Registrar

Newfoundland and Labrador

Registry of Lobbyists


Mark Buzan is the owner of Action Strategies, a public affairs & marketing communications consultancy. You can subscribe now to his monthly public affairs newsletter by visiting www.action-strategies.ca and dropping down the newsletter menu.

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