On close votes
in the United Kingdom Parliament at Westminster, MPs used to
leave their seats and enter the “Aye” lobby or the “Nay”
lobby adjacent to the House of Commons to express their
choice. Many years ago, people attempting to influence MPs
in these votes became known as “lobbyists”, and a whole new
profession was born.
lobbyists do? In simplest terms lobbyists help
organizations and individuals get what they want from
government. This may involve securing public funding or
contracts; resolving disputes with government bodies;
obtaining permits and approvals; or changing legislation,
policy or programs.
In Canada it is now quite common for private companies, industry and
professional associations, charitable and community groups,
private individuals and even other levels of government to
organizations and individuals retain professional
government relations consultants, or lobbyists.
Governments are large and complicated organisms; a good
lobbyist can add value by helping clients define their
objectives, identify decision-makers and communicate with
them in a timely and effective way.
Why lobby? As taxpayers, voters and residents, all
organizations and individuals in Canada are affected by
government - every single day. We are taxed or regulated in
many aspects of our business, professional and personal
lives. We consume a vast array of public services and
products, from health care to car insurance. If we don’t
like what a government does (or doesn't do), we can suffer
silently. Or we can do something about it.