Lobbying in Ottawa hit monthly records amid oil crash and pandemic, stats show

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OTTAWA — A global pandemic and the crash in oil prices helped push lobbying in Ottawa to record heights over the last two months.

Statistics provided by the federal lobbying commissioner show 5,854 meetings and phone calls between public officials and outside consultants, corporate executives and organizations in February and March, up 40 per cent from those two months a year earlier.

Both months had record numbers of lobbying contacts compared to the same months over the last 11 years.

Lobbying of politicians and officials in Natural Resources Canada led the way with four times as many lobbying meetings in March compared to the same month in 2019.

Employment and Social Development Canada saw its lobbying contacts triple, and Health Canada’s contacts doubled in the month.

Greg MacEachern, senior vice-president at the government-relations firm Proof Strategies, says in the final two weeks of March businesses and industry associations were “firefighting” when it came to adapting to lockdown orders and seeking government help to stay afloat.