Lobbying is a legitimate activity

Since June 2002, in Québec, lobbying is expressly recognized by the Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Act as a totally legitimate activity. This practice is regulated not only in Québec but also in Canada (at the federal level), in certain other provinces (British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador and Ontario) as well as in the United States.

In our free and democratic society, lobbyists play an important role because they can communicate useful information to public office holders to help them make enlightened decisions on sometimes very complex issues (for example, the impact of pesticide use on the environment, water fluoridation, urban planning, the Kyoto Protocol, genetically modified oragnisms (GMOs), etc.).

Moreover, lobbying constitutes, for all citizens or interest groups, a means of access to institutions. For example, whether we think about the asphalt lobby or its competitor, the concrete industry, each of them has a right to promote its viewpoint to the Ministère des Transports regarding surface materials for the roads. In this case, the influence of both lobbies is legitimate provided lobbyists abide by the Act, that is, provided they act with transparency and observe the Code of Conduct.

Finally, lobbyists who comply with the Act and who act with transparency contribute in the improvement of democratic life. The Act also provides citizens with an access to information through a public registry allowing them to exercise their right to information.

The Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Act does not impose any limit on citizens who wish to contact their elected officials or public administration directly.