Over on Twitter, I made repeated attempts to ask Gerry Nicholls about what Harper did at the NCC, since Nicholls is clamouring about what he didn’t. He repeatedly refused to answer. My “responsible communication” defence thus assured, I wrote the following letter to PMO. I’ll let y’all know when (and if) I get a reply.
I am a columnist with QMI/Sun Media.
Recently, in response to a column I wrote that made passing reference to Stephen Harper’s time at the National Citizen’s Coalition (NCC), former NCC senior officer Gerry Nicholls wrote a letter to the editor. In part, his letter states:
“Yes, Prime Minister Harper was indeed NCC president, back in the late 1990s. But he was not, as Kinsella asserts, a “lobbyist.”
As NCC president, Harper’s job was to use advertising campaigns, constitutional court challenges and media appearances to raise public awareness about the importance of free markets, smaller government and individual freedom.”
As you are perhaps aware, such “advertising campaigns” may fall within the definition of “grass roots lobbying” under the provisions of the Lobbying Act, R.S.C. 1985, c.44. In section 7, therein, Parliament requires disclosure of “particulars to identify any communication technique, including grass-roots communication.”
I made repeated attempts, in a public forum, to question Mr. Nicholls’ about the nature of these NCC advocacy campaigns, and whether disclosure took place. He made references to legal action, but declined to answer.
Therefore, I wish to ask your office whether (a) public office holders were in any way part of the target audience of the communications campaigns Mr. Nicholls referenced and, if so, (b) whether lobbyist registration was considered or attempted, and why not if not.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Warren Kinsella, LL.B