Mayor's inner circle approves voluntary lobbyist registry

Mayor Brian Bowman's inner circle has approved a voluntary registry that would ask lobbyists to sign it within 10 days of meeting with a city official.

City council's executive policy committee voted Wednesday to create a list of anyone who meets with the mayor, a city councillor or a public servant — outside of a public event or normal process — for some form of benefit for themselves, their employer or another business or non-profit organization with paid staff.

​Bowman proposed the list late in 2016 as a means of promoting transparency at city hall.

If approved by council as a whole next week, it will ask for registration by people who seek to influence city officials for benefit through financial means or through changes to a program, policy or procedure. 

The city has no power to force lobbyists to sign the registry or to penalize those who do not.

Former city councillor George Fraser appeared before the executive policy committee to advise the mayor to hold off on a voluntary registry he described as "busywork."

Bowman dismissed the criticism, saying lobbyist registries are proven in their effectiveness.

Winnipeg's integrity commissioner, Sherri Walsh, will be responsible for managing the registry.

The executive policy committee motion calls on Walsh to ask the province to make legislative changes to allow the city to make its lobbyist registry mandatory.