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Jiles arranged meeting before registering to lobby

The Progressive Group's Mark Jiles arranged a December 17, 2007 meeting for New Car Dealers Association of B.C. representatives with a government official. At the time he was not registered to lobby on behalf of the association.

According to a November 26, 2007 e-mail Jiles sent, obtained by The Tyee through a freedom of information request, association president Glen Ringdal and director Moray Keith wanted to meet with then finance minister Carole Taylor.

“The purpose of this meeting is to develop a stronger relationship with Minister Taylor and discuss the government's environmental plan and some of options the government may be considering in an effort to reduce green house gases,” Jiles wrote. “More importantly, though, how the New Car Dealers can assist the Province and its goal to reduce these harmful emissions.”

Taylor's administrative coordinator Katrina Lewis responded to Jiles that Taylor was too busy preparing the budget, but assistant deputy minister Andy Robinson would meet with them instead. “I will have Mr. Robinson's assistant Sheila Kowalewsky contact you to arrange a suitable time for this meeting,” she wrote to Jiles, Premier Gordon Campbell's former constituency campaign manager.

Kowalewsky later confirmed the meeting was set for Robinson and Ringdal.

Until recently, Jiles and his Progressive Group colleague Patrick Kinsella's interactions with the Campbell administration had been under review by the lobbyists registrar.

Those interactions, according to information obtained by Public Eye and 24 Hours reporter Sean Holman, appear to have included arranging scheduled meetings between powerful foreign and business interests and public office holders.

But the New Democrats asked the RCMP to investigate after Kinsella refused to cooperate with the registrar - a request the force is still considering.

The New Car Dealers' business manager Tina Coleman recently told Holman that the association did not hire Jiles "until sometime in late 2007." Jiles, according to the government's lobbyist registry, registered to lobby for the New Car Dealers starting on January 1, 2008.

Besides arranging the December 2007 meeting, Jiles was scheduled to meet on behalf of the New Car Dealers with Taylor on Nov. 20, 2006, well over a year before he registered to represent the group as a lobbyist.

The half-hour meeting at Taylor's Vancouver constituency office was “To discuss the elimination of the 2% luxury tax on the sale price of new pick up trucks that sell for over $55K & local issues facing New Car Dealers in Vancouver Langara.”

Jiles was scheduled to attend the meeting along with association president Ringdal.

In a written statement issued five months ago, Progressive Group stressed it was "confident it has consistently and correctly followed the requirements" of the Lobbyists Registration Act.

Under the Lobbyists Registration Act, consultant lobbyists are required to sign-up if they, for pay, communicate with a public office holder in an attempt to influence government - although there are some exceptions to that rule. For example, lobbyists don't have to register for communications concerning a constituent's "personal matter" or the "the enforcement, interpretation or application" of an act or regulation. But consultants must always register if they, for pay, arrange a meeting with an office holder and another "person."

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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