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UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The determinants of lobbying regulations in Canada and its provinces Chidgzey, Luke Darrel

Abstract

The public has traditionally viewed lobbying with disdain; notions of “back room deals” and “bought politicians” have prevailed in the public discourse of many advanced industrialized democracies. This public attention has resulted in government action to regulate the practice of lobbying in some advanced democracies in the latter half of the twentieth century, with the aim to increase transparency and legitimacy. Research focused on the United States has produced insight into the creation and nature of lobbying regulations within the context of the American state governments. There has been no similar research within the Canadian political context, despite the fact that the Canadian federal government and nine of its ten provinces regulate lobbying to some degree. This study fills the gap in the literature by examining what factors cause lobbying regulations in Canada and its provinces. In order to address this question, this study scored all lobbying regulations at both the provincial and federal level, using an original index. Five potential causal variables were identified, based on findings from the literature: political scandals, political culture, financial resources, legislative tenure, and ideology. A quantitative bivariate analysis employing cross-tabulation was conducted, investigating the relationship between the aforementioned causal variables and lobbying regulations in Canada. Results indicated a statistically significant relationship between the timing and stringency of lobbying regulations and 1) the ideology of the governing party, 2) the occurrence of political scandals at the federal and provincial levels, and 3) the wealth of Canadian polities. These results differ from those reported in the US literature, which identify political culture and legislative tenure as causal variables. Thus, findings from the US literature cannot be generalized to the Canadian political context; potentially, contextual factors such as institutional design, the unique makeup of Canadian political culture, and the nature of the Canadian ideological spectrum may function to explain these differences. More broadly, these results undermine the notion that there are universal determinants of lobbying regulations across polities.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada