CSA’s Lobbying of SCC in Ottawa
March 12th, 2018
NOTE: There are still some free copies of Knight’s Canadian Electrical Code available at Bernier’s and Webber’s offices (locations here, at bottom of article).
A few weeks ago, we asked our readers this question;
“So, how do you suppose the civil service will handle [the Canadian Standards Association’s (CSA’s)] violation of public review law? Will the Standards Council actually uphold the law in respect of the Court Ruling? Will they really rescind CSA’s accreditation? Or are calls being made”?
Their choice was pretty clear, as between compliance with law and violation of law. Would CSA comply with law? Would the civil service enforce the law? Or were the civil servants calling each other, rigging the rules and the Ruling to exempt themselves from law?
So, what do you think, were calls being made?
We pointed out that these people “are civil servants, they know their colleagues, they work with them, so they know who to call on any problem confronting them”.
We predicted “some frantic lobbying in Parliament for yet more special rights at public expense; namely, an exemption to the public review requirement, so they can amend legislation without even a pretext of transparency.”
We said there’d be “frantic phonecalls.”
Well, we know more than we disclose, but “frantic” is the right word for these calls. And yes, there were calls.
A very senior public figure once shared something unexpected; “funerals,” they said, “are wonderful, they’re terrific places to get work done.” You know, a working funeral. Why so? Well, attendance at funerals is outside the purview of the Federal Lobbying Registry. You can talk to whomever you happen to meet at a funeral, about any subject whatsoever, and absolutely all of that conversation is off-the-record and perfectly legal.
Outside the funeral venue of course, any communication with civil servants must be disclosed, including details of the discussion -subject, request, etc., and then reported on the Lobbying Registry’s website.
Funerals are one way to duck the registry, but they’re not the only way. Ottawa’s got a cottage industry of enablers of this sort of conduct. In theory then, CSA can talk to the Standards Council of Canada (SCC), their nominal regulators, at their leisure and without a trace of it on record.
We know of quite a few conversations that never made it to the Lobbying Registry’s record. Oddly, given their vulnerabilities, we also know a few of CSA’s conversations that did indeed make the Registry.
For example, on Jan 15th, within two weeks of our advising the Government that the Federal Court had Ruled CSA in violation of public review laws, David Weinstein, the CEO of CSA, had a meeting with Marc Fortin, the Assistant Deputy Minister for Programs, [etc] at Infrastructure Canada. The topic? Why, infrastructure of course. You know what infrastructure is. For CSA, it’s the body of laws for roads, bridges, ports, airports, etc. Oh, and the Electrical Code, of course.
The next week, Weinstein was at it again. On Jan 25th, he met with Senator Douglas Black and his Special Advisor, Robert Stark. The subject? Intellectual property. The CSA still argues that the legislation they amend is their privately owned intellectual property.
On the same day, Weinstein also met with John Walters, the CEO of the Standards Council of Canada (SCC). The SCC is the regulatory body responsible for CSA. At the time of their meeting, Walters had yet to respond to our request to enforce Federal law on CSA in light of CSA’s violation of public review law. So what did Weinstein want to talk to Walters about? According to the Registry, their subject was “Intellectual property.”
On Jan 26th, the day after meeting Weinstein, Walters issued his decision to exempt CSA from the law.
Look folks, you may safely assume that this sort of thing is the tip of the iceberg. Bottom feeders are always beneath the surface.
We’ve been vindicated in our January predictions. It bodes well though, that we made these predictions on this site of course, but we also made them in Ottawa. Being vindicated in Parliament makes CSA’s ongoing mucking, and the muckies in the muck doing their mucking, look all the more mucky.
We’re quite clean in contrast, and clean always looks good.