June 23, 2015

BREAKING: Tony Clark is registered to lobby the same Alberta ministry he now runs

Ezra LevantRebel Commander

Tony Clark, the chief of staff for Alberta’s NDP minister of human services, is a registered lobbyist for the Alberta Federation of Labour. Not was. He is.

Clark is registered to lobby the very ministry that he now runs, including pushing for an increase in the minimum wage. And – no surprise – he is in fact pushing for an increase in the minimum wage.

Who is he really working for?

Clark is also registered to lobby other government ministries on a range of issues, from raising taxes to opposing oil pipelines.

Here's the document that shows this:

It’s incredible that Clark is still a registered lobbyist. But even if he had resigned the day before he took over the ministry, how would that be any better?

How can he now make objective decisions on issues – like the minimum wage – about which he was paid to lobby so forcefully? How can his judgment be trusted to be independent and open-minded – rather than an expression of loyalty to those who paid him to hold those opinions?

And how can any civil servant, knowing about Clark’s lobbying, speak candidly about those issues, either to him or to the minister? Would disagreeing with Clark’s bosses at the Alberta Federation of Labour get a civil servant fired?

The question is fairly put to the minister Clark supposedly serves, Irfan Sabir. Sabir is an accidental cabinet minister – a political neophyte who won in a riding where the NDP received just 2% of the vote last time. He has no experience in government. He has even less of an ability to stand up to a hard-boiled lobbyist than a career civil servant who at least knows his files.

Clark isn’t the only lobbyist to take over a ministry he once targeted.

Graham Mitchell, the chief of staff for the energy minister, was a registered federal anti-oil lobbyist who only quit being a registered lobbyist on June 12th after the scandal was publicized.

The conflict of interest isn’t just the days that Mitchell had two masters. It’s that Mitchell is not impartial – he’s like a judge who pronounced someone guilty before a trial begins. Mitchell led a team of 14 lobbyists against oil pipelines and oil by rail. He oversaw the broadcast of anti-oil attack ads. He ran an anti-oil campaign school. How can he suddenly pretend he’s open to hearing from the same oil companies he demonized for a living? How can anyone else pretend that, either? And like Sabir, Mitchell’s minister, Margaret McCuaig-Boyd, is weak, a former teacher with no knowledge or experience about oil and gas. And Mitchell is in charge of her briefings.

One ministry’s chief of staff registered as a lobbyist is unlucky. Two registered lobbyists starts to look like carelessness. But it all makes sense when you know the man who hired both Clark and Mitchell:

Brian Topp, chief of staff to Rachel Notley herself.

Topp isn’t a lobbyist, but he was the registered co-owner of a government relations firm that bore his name – Kool Topp & Guy. And Topp remained a registered director and 1/3 owner of that firm long after he became Notley’s chief of staff. Only when Topp was asked about that conflict of interest did he urgently file a change at Alberta’s corporate registry, and back-date his resignation by nearly a month.

How can Rachel Notley stand for this? Registered lobbyists being hired to run ministries they had been lobbying? Her own chief of staff remaining as a registered co-owner of a government relations firm?

Notley’s platform made “honesty and ethics in government” a key part of her campaign, second only to her plan to raise taxes.

Notley promised to “strengthen the Conflict of Interest Act to prevent MLAs from using their position to benefit their own financial interests of that of political friends.” She also promised to “strength cooling-off periods for former political staff”, before they could become lobbyists.

How does that square with allowing actual lobbyists to work in the heart of her government?

Notley’s own conflicts of interest help answer the question. Her husband, Lou Arab, is an active lobbyist for another Alberta union, CUPE. Arab isn’t a registered lobbyist. But he does it anyway.

Earlier this month, the Airdrie News quoted Notley proposing to hike the minimum wage. And then, for another point of view, they quoted Arab – pushing for the same thing. But he was identified as a CUPE spokesman, not Notley’s husband.

Arab is not well known outside of Edmonton or labour union circles. Not knowing his personal connection to the premier was surely an error by the Airdrie News – that Arab and CUPE strategically chose not to correct. But the collaboration between Arab, CUPE and Notley reached new heights last week when the CBC called Arab asking for CUPE’s views, and their phone message was returned by Cheryl Oates, of the premier’s office.

CUPE union bosses don’t just have a direct line into Notley’s ear each night. CUPE actually has taxpayers footing the bill to have government spin doctors return their phone calls to the media.

Notley told the CBC she was getting legal advice from the conflict of interest commissioner “day by day” on how she was handling her husband’s lobbying. That kind of alarm bell is where a new premier typically would get help from an experienced hand – a seasoned chief of staff who would tell her that the integrity of the government was more important than Arab getting special access for his CUPE brethren.

But when that seasoned chief of staff himself sees no problem hiring lobbyists, and himself remains the registered owner of a government relations firm long after taking over the premier’s office, what do you expect?


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Toronto anti-oil industry lobbyist Graham Mitchell has no business working in Alberta's Ministry of Energy.
SIGN THE PETITION at FireMitchell.ca

READ Ezra Levant's bestselling books debunking environmentalist propaganda against the energy industry:

Groundswell: The Case for Fracking
Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada's Oil Sands



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commented 2015-06-24 14:22:05 -0400
Whatever it is, let us just see their first 100 days on the throne, how they run it and if it is messy, we have to kick them out!
commented 2015-06-24 14:16:45 -0400
Well, I feel everyone’s anger and pain here. I am an third generation Albertan and will likely feel the financial pain as well as see the jobs go by way of the toilet.

I was around where Pierre Idiot Trudeau ruined my chance at an excellent career in the early 80s by raping Alberta with the NEP. Expect Notley to design and implement a “National Energy Strategy” that will do exactly the same as the NEP and focus specifically on taking the revenue from the oilsands for “all Canada’s sake”, but no other energy source from any other provinces will be included. … as if using the work “Strategy” instead of “Program” will fool us into believing it is different than the NEP.

The other provinces have always been jealous of Alberta’s prosperity even though they have all benefited from it through the provincial equalization and by jobs both direct and spin-off, and by the massive taxes take from those that work in the oilsands. Notley and her anti-everything-oil-in-Alberta crew will make sure our wealth is not ours anymore but spread out through all Canada … while the rest of the provinces keep their wealth to themselves.

I can only hope that those that voted for these NDP lose their jobs first when the jobs vanish. An object lesson is often the only way some people learn. And I can only hope that these NDP get their asses handed to them in four years.
commented 2015-06-24 12:50:06 -0400
Ron, thanks for the info. Yes he is passionate and uncontrolled but he makes me laugh. I can understand his frustration though. Like me he may not have the vocabulary you do. I spend more time looking up definitions.(ad homonym)? Ok got it
commented 2015-06-24 09:38:25 -0400
PETER BABICH, it wasn’t me that flagged Vlad in this case. However, while Vlad was passionate about the issues, he, unfortunately, often peppered his comments with excessive profanity and ad homonym attacks. My recall is that in this particular case he mentioned violence, which bordered on a threat, as a response to Notley, which crossed the line. The moderator did Vlad a favour by removing him.
commented 2015-06-24 05:46:46 -0400
Peter Babich
I don’t believe you Peter, after all your province put these idiots in charge, just as mine put a corrupt thieving government in charge here in Ontario. The spread of socialism is now in Alberta. Watch out! The best is yet to come! Higher taxes the cost of living through he roof! But you will be like Quebec and Ontario and have all these nice shiny social programs and government will grow accordingly. Fight back you must! I wish I could have my own gun and join you!!!! We are quickly becoming a communist country, starting with in. God help us all if the NDP wins on the Federal level. Texas is sounding better each day!
commented 2015-06-24 01:19:21 -0400
We’re kinda like the Texas of Canada. Don’t mess with rednecks. While we seem passive and ignorant, we kick like mules. Lots of people worked hard to elevate this region and won’t just hand it over
commented 2015-06-23 23:09:49 -0400
Well, Alberta, I hate to rub it in, but I’ve said it before. You’ll be sorry if you elect an NDP Government. Now you did and you’ll just have to live with it. Best start making plans now for how you’re going to turn things around in four years.
commented 2015-06-23 22:58:33 -0400
Who flagged Vlad? I didn’t get to read it. One thing Notley and her Arab don’t realize, Albertans and our corporate leaders don’t bend over and wait for the penetration like they do in Ontario. We’re a bit prophetic. She’s gonna get a punch in the face like Redford, Smith and Prentice got if she doesn’t fly straight and tow the line
commented 2015-06-23 22:48:17 -0400
Daryl King Ralph had some terminology for those “freeloaders”. He called them Bums and Scum. Apparently enough have migrated here to ruin a fine province.
commented 2015-06-23 22:41:32 -0400
There is not one single province or territory in this country that has not benefited financially in one form or another from Alberta’s economic growth. From employment to the billions of dollars in equalization payments. And, there will not be one province or territory in Canada who will not feel the effects of Alberta’s NDP Govt. Fking Alberta, Hellberta, I hate Alberta, are but a few words I have heard expressed by people from other provinces who are gainfully employed here! I hear the same sentiment from some of the commentators on this and other forums.

Well, should the NDP Govt. succeed in doing to this province, as it has done to others, we are in for a very rough ride! Not just Albertan’s, but the rest of Canada too! Oh, and couple this with an NDP or Liberal Federal Govt. then hold on to your asses Canadians because not only will the ride be rough, the decline will be rapid! And Canada, yeah Canada – will “hold” the biggest “laughing stock” in the world! (’cause “laughing stock” is all we will be able to afford).
commented 2015-06-23 22:15:47 -0400
OH! …and all you NDP supporters better had find a place to go too!! I’ve been here most all my life and I’m over 60! and getting really pissed at your party’s performances which have severely impacted my life!
commented 2015-06-23 22:12:02 -0400
Pete Leblanc commented 2 hours ago
Dear NDP lunatics:
We wont sit back and let you f**k our province.
I am not sure how you got a majority vote,
but if you think we are going to submit to treehuggers, expect a hard pushback.

Pete, these subversives got their vote from all those “freeloaders” who came to Alberta within the last 10 years to EXPLOIT the vigorous Alberta economy and have treehugger mentality – look at what was voted in! A bunch of clueless lunatics bent on “diversifying” Alberta’s historical economy.
A “pushback” is not really whats going to fix this – an all out revolt by all those who are out of work or are about to be, may just do the trick!
I’ve never sat so far forward in my life, but wished I’d had when the NDP took power in BC ( I was too busy protecting myself & family from the NDP’s Bolshevik tactics of literally bullying their way to power by thugs!) – that province will be decades in heavy work to recover from their lunatic schemes there!

NDPGET a brain before you have no place to run! You have already pissed way too many of us off to think you’ll become any kind of power here in Alberta, and you haven’t done anything yet except piss us off good and proper!!!!
commented 2015-06-23 21:56:13 -0400
Michael Hillman said, “Shall we wait and see what they actually do before we start yelling ‘the sky is falling ..the sky is falling ’ ?”

Eh Michael – the sky did fall the minute the NDP won this election! If you can’t recall the outcome of other provinces’ rule by NDP fanatics – you must be suffering from memory loss. It is all there in historically documented data. Share any ONE thing the NDP have ever done with a positive outcome? The NDP are made up of all those high school “druggies” who used all those psychedelic drugs nd worse and I am not referring to pot! …and idolized all those communist revolutionists.

But as to this story Ezra, this really smells of “conflict of interest” – but then again in retrospect so is the whole NDP government and their Wafo Manifesto.
commented 2015-06-23 21:38:36 -0400
Big deal. Our Attorney General is a 3-yr call lawyer. She worked for a union for a while after getting out of law school.

You can’t make this up.
commented 2015-06-23 20:57:42 -0400
Mike Millette..
How is she more intelligent?
What has she done that makes her more intelligent?
What do you think is the best proof that you are a narcissist?
commented 2015-06-23 20:14:38 -0400
Dear NDP lunatics:
We wont sit back and let you f**k our province.
I am not sure how you got a majority vote,
but if you think we are going to submit to treehuggers, expect a hard pushback.
commented 2015-06-23 19:18:28 -0400
Can you say “conflict of interest charges” – becha can’t
commented 2015-06-23 19:17:47 -0400
Great story Ezra. Only one thing you left out. If the fact that there is such a huge conflict of interest on several levels then what can anyone (Albertans) really do about it? Who is the Provincial government accountable to? If the answer is Albertans then we are back at square one. Nothing can be done for four years! If there is something then tell us!
commented 2015-06-23 17:38:47 -0400
Milan — I hear you; I feel your pain. I defected from BC when the “right” was split and the NDP got their 2nd term… and watched what they did to my birth province. I’ve watched what they’ve done to Manitoba, and Saskatchewan prior to premier Wall. (And laughed like crazy when Ottawa had to bail them out because they just about declared bankruptcy!) I watched with hope when Mike Harris was elected in Ontario (a possible Klein clone), and then watched with dismay as he was turfed after only one term. And was properly horrified at what McGuinty and company have done to Ontario! (I thought Rae was bad… oh Lord…)

Having watched all this, and now watch just the beginnings of the NDP in Alberta, I have little confidence in any fiscal responsibility (they’re already saying there will be money for schools and roads and, and, and… and it’s coming from where???). So Alberta will have to pick up the pieces in four years, but with the fiscal disaster the NDP will leave behind, they will only last one term in Alberta.
commented 2015-06-23 17:38:04 -0400
Michael Hillman said, “Shall we wait and see what they actually do before we start yelling ‘the sky is falling ..the sky is falling ’ ?”

The NDP in Nova Scotia, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and BC ALL tanked the economies of the province in which they governed. Every one of them!

Why in blazes would we think that this NDP government will do any better? Especially when you look at just how many anti-oil / anti-pipeline / anti-oilsands activists are in positions of power in this NDP government.

Just how much evidence do you need to get the idea that they will most likely tank Alberta’s economy too?

In any case, we have no choice but to wait and see what they will do.
commented 2015-06-23 17:26:29 -0400
Keep on digging Ezra. You’ll find more shenanigans.
commented 2015-06-23 16:01:49 -0400
well Ezra …the one true comment you made is what you closed with ‘We don’t know …we just don’t know ’ There is a big difference between being a lobbyist – which is documented and accessible by the public – and actually lobbying your own ministry. – a true oxymoron. So much fear mongering about a Government that really hasn’t started governing yet. Shall we wait and see what they actually do before we start yelling ‘the sky is falling ..the sky is falling ’ ? The last time I checked very little has changed in Alberta – a province that has danced to the tune of Big Oil for as long as we can all remember. Oil is Alberta , Alberta is Oil ..but the pendulum can swing back a bit without the world coming to an end.
As for minimum wage ..when was the last time ANYONE here worked for $15/hr and could you survive on that pittance now ? The reality is with our labour situation, very few people do work below the proposed hike. We are the richest, strongest ..bestest ( yes I said bestest ) province in the country ..doesn’t hurt to share a bit of the wealth .. a true trickle down .
commented 2015-06-23 15:48:51 -0400
Well at least Michael Millette is up front about who he votes for. And who we can blame when the NDP Raes this province.
Michael, we aren’t all propagandized students here. When you speak of “democratizing” Alberta we understand that to mean exactly the opposite. You think the “democratized” people of Cuba and Venezuela are proud and happy with the tyranny they suffer under? You think progressive policies are actually designed to help the people? Sorry, they are designed to mislead the people and subsequently gather as much political power and control as possible.
Do you actually believe that raising the minimum wage will lower costs and/or increase employment? If you do you are making a fact free emotion decision and haven’t thought it through. I already have heard of small companies warning of layoffs because they can’t afford the increased labour costs. The effect on youth employment will be even worse.
I dare you to list progressive NDP policies and their intended consequences. It won’t take long to find “intentions” do not equal reality.
You should buy a “I voted for Notley’s NDP” t-shirt and walk proudly around downtown Calgary in about 4 months.
commented 2015-06-23 15:24:29 -0400
More great news…..for BC.
commented 2015-06-23 14:30:21 -0400
I hope all the buffoons who voted for change are happy with the results. A corrupt government that’s trying to rival the Ontario liberals. Freedom in Alberta has become a thing of the past in just two short weeks. The base for corruption is being laid right in front of everyone’s eyes. Yet nobody but a few are noticing or trying to do anything about it. It’s time to rise up Albertans. We did it with Redford we can do it with Notley and her Anti oil lobbyists. This is unbelievable. Where is the MSM. They should be ashamed.
commented 2015-06-23 14:16:28 -0400
Prince Knight……if this is how you feel now…..imagine how you will feel at the end of the NDP term when the REAL damage will be done. We in Ontario are still paying for the NDP’s bizarre experiment in socialism from the 1990’s.
Good luck, man.
commented 2015-06-23 14:04:26 -0400
Face it, people, we’re stuck with crap like this for another four (and possibly five) years. When the next election comes, we have to make damned sure that there’s no “right wing” vote splitting. But one thing is guaranteed — the NDP won’t be elected next time!
commented 2015-06-23 14:01:19 -0400
Michael Millette, why do people like you choose the one extremist comment in the post and make sound like it is the norm for everyone who posts here.

It’s not “Wow people, Hitler”, it is “Wow, Vlad, Hitler”
commented 2015-06-23 13:56:14 -0400
William Maciura said, “How come no other news media has this story?”

Because the left wing main stream media has no problems with the conflict as they want Alberta to have the left wing NDP government is power, so they will do nothing to upset the apple cart.

Henry Reardon, all very good questions, but typically it is the press that keeps governments accountable by exposing them to the people, and TheRebel.Media is doing an excellent job doing this ( thanks Ezra! ), however TheRebel.Media does not yet have a big enough audience to make an impact on the majority of people, and the main stream media is complicit in keeping these conflicts of interest quiet, if in no other way than by ignoring that they exist.
commented 2015-06-23 13:56:02 -0400
Wow people, Hitler? “topp is no different that Adolf Hitler.” You might be glossing over things such as the 6 million Jews that Hitler killed. Topp is actually a pretty nice guy, I honestly don’t think that he has genocide in his heart. As far as a coup (Vlad), it’s ironic that Notley has, and will be democratizing Alberta more than any other government in history. As far as your personal attacks (Vlad), and insults, it just exposes you for the teabilly that you really are. Maybe head back to Texas.

Ezra, you do a great job of the usual hyperbole, and feigning outrage, and delivering the scare talking points, but did you really expect Notley to engage the consultation of people who are against an increase in the minimum wage? This was a main plank in here winning platform, and I fully understand why she is turning to professionals who understand the issue, are well versed on the arguments, and the pertinent data. Looks like sound hiring policy to me.

Do you know the difference between a “registered lobbyist” and Ezra Levant. The answer is that the lobbyist is registered, and at least we know their real profession. Ezra is a hardcore lobbyists that is masquerading as a journalist. That’s more than just a little intellectually dishonest.

Vlad, before you question the integrity and intelligence of Mrs. Notley, remember that she is a mother, and a regular Albertan just like the rest of us, and much more intelligent than yourself. You might wan’t to ease up on the misogyny and the veiled death threats, as you are in public.

Keep it classy.