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Registrar investigating whether BC police chiefs obeying lobbying law

British Columbia's office of the registrar of lobbyists is investigating whether the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police has followed the province's lobbying laws.

"We have commenced an investigation under section 7.1 of the [Lobbyists Registration Act], which states that if it is considered necessary to establish whether there is or has been compliance by any person with the LRA or the regulations, the Registrar may conduct an investigation," deputy registrar Mary Carlson wrote in an email to freelance writer Rob Wipond.

Wipond had complained to the registrar after researching an article for Victoria's Focus Magazine about the activities of two organizations, the BCACP and the B.C. Association of Municipal Chiefs of Police. The article pointed out that while the organizations use public resources and try to influence public policy, they claim to be private groups not covered by B.C.'s freedom of information legislation.

"They're currently trying to have it both ways," Wipond said in an interview. With the registrar's investigation, he said, "I'm expecting they'll issue a report that will help clarify what's going on."

If the associations are private groups, they would still have to comply with the lobbying rules and register if their members spend a combined total of at least 100 hours a year lobbying, he said.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

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