The City of Hamilton is exploring whether to create bylaws to deal with lobbyists at city hall. The proposed bylaw would require lobbyists to register their request to speak with someone at the city, the topic of discussion, and the person they are meeting with. Registration is done online and is easily visible to anyone interested in knowing who is meeting with city staff.
Guelph is not the size of Hamilton but that doesn't mean it couldn't fall victim to lobbyists, who sometimes wine and dine and offer gifts to city staff in the hopes of swaying decisions.
If you watch enough TV shows with a political bent, it's easy to believe every lobbyist has manipulation and self interest at their root.
I wonder how big of an issue it is in Guelph. We certainly see 'regulars' delegating at city council meetings and builders and planning consultants speaking with city staff on a regular basis. I'm not suggesting any of them are doing anything under-handed. Just wondering out loud if they are considered lobbyists and how a lobbyist registry would fly in Guelph.
Does it make more sense in larger cities versus our mid-size Guelph? Is such a registry a feature of open government? Or would all this openness be off-putting to businesses considering locating in Guelph?
If it's got something to do with size, it's not too early to start thinking about it. After all, Guelph is poised for growth.