Monday, August 27, 2007

The status of Sharon Smith UPDATED

Since Dick Harris has "appointed" Sharon Smith the *ahem* liaison with the Harper government from the federal riding of Skeena-Bulkley Valley, some questions as to what her status actually represents are appropriate.

Clearly, she's the mayor of Houston, British Columbia and can represent that district municipality in that capacity. Her point of contact: the Member of Parliament for Skeena-Bulkley Valley, Nathan Cullen.

She is a member of the Bulkley-Nechako Regional District board, but that doesn't give her any increased access to federal government than her position as mayor. Since she's not the chairman of that regional district board, she represents Houston on that board.

So what is she?

Well, consider that the University of British Columbia is a public institution and occasionally enters into communication with officers of the Crown regarding education, legislative research and applications for grants, capital or operating funding. In order to do that, the President and every department head of UBC is registered as a lobbyist under the Federal Lobbyist Registration Act.

A search of the Lobbyists Registration System does not produce a result when Smith is entered into a search.

But, with no other official status, the only thing her role seems to represent is that of a lobbyist. Why is she not registered?

If a public university has to register every individual likely to communicate with the government, shouldn't Smith be required to meet that same standard?

Just sayin'.

UPDATE: Tim picked up on another "special liaison" person appointed by the Conservatives. This time it is in the Western Arctic in the form of Brendan Bell. Bell will be running for the Conservatives in the next federal election. Are you surprized?

UPDATE 2: Try as I might, I can't find a supporting link to verify that Brendan Bell has received any special appointment at all. He has announced that he is not running in the North West Territories election and will make a run for the Conservative Party candidacy for the federal seat. Other than that, Bell appears to be a very busy and energetic minister in the NWT assembly. A check on NDP MP Dennis Bevington's (Western Arctic) website contains no information that would indicate Bell has received any special status which would undermine Bevington's role as MP.

Apologies to everyone if the update got everyone's blood up.

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