Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Even universities need to hire Liberal insider lobbyists

Quite an excellent, alarming piece from Andrew MacLeod at thetyee.ca reporting that some B.C. universities are hiring lobbyists to try and get what they want from the B.C. government.
Not just any lobbyists - ones with close ties to the Liberal party. Simon Fraser University hired a former B.C. Liberal party president. For another issue, the university hired the lobbyist who managed Gordon Campbell's election campaigns.
The B.C. Institute of Technology hired three lobbyists, including Ken Dobell.
There is something profoundly disturbing about this. Taxpayers and students fund the schools and the province sets policy direction. Yet post-secondary educations don't think their presidents can talk to government - bureaucrats or the advanced education minister or the premier. They need to use public funds to hire an insider to lobby the politicians about public policy.
And then the same lobbyists, frequently, donate money and time and effort to the re-election campaigns of the people they are lobbying.
It's a destructive trend, one that leaves the public to conclude that only those with the money to hire friends of the government will be heard. Why else would universities use scarce dollars in this way?
Read MacLeod's report here.

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