What do lobbyists do? - Clover Bar Junior High

How effectively does Canada’s federal political system
govern Canada for all Canadians?
 This section, you will find out:
• What lobbyists do.
• The extent to which lobbyists support
Canadians in the political scene.
• How lobbyists influence the government’s
Who are lobbyists?
 They are individuals hired by a certain group to
influence MPs and put pressure on political
officials about specific issues.
 Lobbyists often use the media to voice their views
on issues that affect members, services, and
 Pressure groups often use lobbying to get their message
across to decision makers. Lobbying can be described as
communicating with one or more political decision
makers and trying to influence them to take a favourable
position on a proposed or existing policy.
 The most effective lobbying often is carried on by
professional lobbyists whose job it is to approach
government to protect the interests of the organizations
paying them to lobby. They talk to officials, politicians
and sometimes the general public to convince them that
their needs and views are important.
Lobbying in History
 In 1842, the Anti-Corn Law League was the most
prominent and powerful lobby group of the time. The
League pressured the government to overturn
legislation that kept the price of grain (called "corn" in
England) too high.
 The League talked to influential politicians, formed
community groups, raised money, made speeches,
drew cartoons, wrote editorials for newspapers, and
organized petitions and demonstrations. They were
successful in influencing the government to change
the laws.
Lobbying in History
 In the mid 1800s, those who supported the building of
a railway also formed a lobby group.
 Backers of the Canadian Pacific Railway worked to
persuade the people about the advantages of the
railway. They used arguments that emphasized the
dangers of American expansionism and the increased
quality of life that new technology would bring.
Lobbying in History
 In 1873, John A. Macdonald's government was defeated
when it was revealed that prominent Members of
Parliament had accepted money from Sir Hugh Allan
in exchange for ensuring that Allan would win the
contract to build the railway.
What about lobbyists today?
Non-Smoker’s Rights Association.
 http://www.nsra-adnf.ca/cms/
 Results?
 Tougher controls on smoking
 Warnings placed on cigarettes
 Smoking banned in public places
Other Lobby Groups
Let’s look at other lobby groups. What are they
advocating the government for?
 How might lobbyists affect political decision making?
Questionable Politics
 Today lobbying has increased as a business and plays
an ever increasingly important role in the political
process. Lobbyists can have significant influence in
how policies, and therefore laws, are determined.
 Critics of lobbying claim that there are serious ethical
concerns raised by the practice. Lobbyists are seen as
participating in "backroom politics" where important
government decisions are made away from the public
Questionable Politics
 Lobbyists can also threaten the ethical decision-
making of government by influencing politicians’
decisions through private incentives and agreements
with politicians in the form of "if you scratch my back,
I’ll scratch yours."
 In 1989, the government passed the Lobbyists
Registration Act. This act included rights,
responsibilities and rules for lobbyists, including
providing information on themselves and on the
subjects for which they were lobbying.
Current Events
 How much do you think lobbyists contribute to our
provincial government?
 Let’s look at an article from the Edmonton Journal
about lobbyists and the Conservative government in
How do lobbyists see themselves?
 Read the quotes on pages 52 and 53.
 1. Answer the CTC on page 52.
 2. Complete the first three questions in #1 on page
53. Show insight and thought into your point of
Did you think of…
 Pg 52:
 Lobbyists represent specific sectors of our population,
but there is no guarantee that all groups will be
represented. Only those who are well organized and
well funded will have lobbyists.
 Lobbyists can help gov’t decision making by providing
expertise that the MPs do not have. They can hinder
decisions by influencing politicians to favour solutions
that might not be in the best interests of all Canadians.
 Lobbyists often suggest that, if cooperative, the
government will get some major benefit, such as
increased tax revenue or job creation.
Did you think of…
 Pg 53:
 The lobbyist for CAPP believes that he represents
Canadians who work in the petroleum industry and who
have the technical expertise to address the issues.
 The lobbyist from the Pembina institute believes he
represents Canadians who are concerned about the
 They agree that working together with different
perspectives and with the gov’t, is the best way to
develop good solutions to the issues. They sometimes
disagree on solutions, for example, that more controls
are necessary.
Think critically
 We have discovered:
 The structure of our federal government
 How laws become laws
 How the media is used to connect us to the our
 How lobbyists influence decisions.
Based on your knowledge, how effectively do you think
our political system governs our country for ALL
Think critically
 Let’s do a poll to find out what your classmates think:
 How effectively does Canada’s federal political system
govern Canada for all Canadians?
 Be prepared to explain your answer!
 http://www.polleverywhere.com/multiple_choice_polls