Five Good Ideas about Government relations
Oh. Thank. You very much you know what's. A really good idea is these, five. Good ideas I hadn't, heard about this series before and. Now. That I've worked more about it it's um it's. Pretty terrific and, Connor. My colleague and I who are here today together. We're, also very much looking forward to be with you because. Leaders. Of civil. Society, are, the ones that we admire the we, admire the most, our firm. Navigator is very. Much dedicated, to. Building a, better community we. Get. We have a bit of a Robin Hood practice, we give away 30%. Of our work on. A pro bono basis, and so. That we can help do our part in building, a better a better, civil society, for those of you dedicate, yourselves to that every. Day and across all those sectors you, really have our respect, and our our, admiration. Good. Share with you some of my views on government relations then. Hopefully. You'll. Beat those ideas up and we'll. Hear it from from you as well whenever. I get feedback, from talks. I'm like you have to give people, always like the question. Answers the best so we'll, try and move to that as as, quickly as we can and give you a chance to share, some of your your. Experiences. Not. Everybody likes people involved in the government relations, business. Sometimes. People, have some well, let's just say highly developed views and, those. Views come across all parts of the political, spectrum. At. The risk of sounding like an undergraduate. Let me quote Andra and for you she. Famously, said, that lobbying. Is the activity of attempting, to influence legislation by. Privately. Influencing, the legislators, legislators. It is a result in creation of a mixed economy of government, pressure groups its. Methods, range from your social courtesies, and cocktail, party or luncheon. Friendships, to. Threats, bribes and black/brown, on. Right. You can say it to describe is the other end of the political spectrum senator. Warren, Elizabeth. Warren the senior senator. From Massachusetts. Says that the. Bank's lobbied Washington so, they could write the rules that got us into the financial crisis they, then lobbied Washington to get the money to bail them out and now, their Lobby Washington, direct the rules they get us into the next crisis. So. Whether it's big tobacco or Pharma or defense. Or. Developers. Corporate, lobbyists, are, pretty. Much loathe the liar for, hire some, people say I think, they get stuck into the same category as insurance. Salespeople. CRA. Tax auditors, and, parking. Enforcement officers, not exactly, a particularly. Well. Well-liked. Group but I have. A different view and, that. View is. That. Citizens. Not. Taxpayers. Citizens. Have. The right to assistance, when. Dealing with, their government it. Is an absolutely, ridiculous. Notion, that, we would expect anyone, to go to court without. Lawyer. We. Would not expect anyone, to go through any kind of Administrative, Tribunal of, any, client, without. Having, her. Lawyer at her, site so. Why on earth would. We expect people whose. Expertise. It is not, to. Try and understand. The Byzantine. Labyrinth. Of, government. Without, some help and that's. What good government relations people do the. Days of the back filled rooms and. So. On are long gone. You. Know the term lobbying, came from a hotel in in. Washington, where, people. Used to where the president used to stay before they had the White House and look. People would sit in the lobby and try and catch him on the way in in the way hence, the term lobbyists, and.
Properly. Applied. Done. In a democracy, with. Disclosure, and, with sunlight shined upon it I think, the, ability to, to, be represent. With your government, to, get government to do something you would like the one to do or mostly, to. Get them not to do something, is. Really. An. Important. Part of a, functioning democracy. I'm. Going to give you. Some. Rules I've got. Five good ideas, I've told I had to stick to five but. I'll. Break that rule right away and say the biggest rule, of. Of. Lobbying. Is to. Be in with the outs and. This. Is something that is always forgotten, you. Need to be in with the outs because, eventually. The. Outs become the ends right. Everybody gets a turn eventually, it's, hard to predict if we could mark a time we'd live, in better houses and we'd we'd, have more money in our rsps, but. Eventually the. Outs become, the ends and the, time to influence, them is. Whether the outs because no one else is paying attention to them at that particular point in time right when you're in the distance. Between opposition. And government is, massive, Stephen. Lewis once said when, premier. Rey was elected, that he, had learned more in 30. Days of, the. Democrats. Being in power that he'd learned in 30 years in, being. Being out of power so, that's the first thing to think about is to be to, be in with the outs. The. Second thing idea. At least in, defense of law being is, a corporate. Advocacy. And is not necessarily by, definition, self-interested. Corporations. Are often, are. Advocating. For things that are important, for the economy as a whole and, after, would be it would be an example. Lobbyists. Are also important. In bringing, different perspectives. To govern decision-making, if, all you have of people telling you this what you want to hear and telling. You the the, story from the same perspective in the same the, same point of view I'm. Pretty hard to, get a diverse, sense of how, a policy. Will play or, how. A policy, will. Packt different, groups, of people in other, parts of the world. Movement. Is encouraged. Between. Working in government and working in either the private sector or working in the third sector and, people throughout their careers are going back and forth and it. Might be that's a very healthy thing because, it's it's, quite useful for. Our tax official, to have actually spent time as, a tax practitioner. Here. In Canada, we've developed, the idea that that, is a recipe for corruption right. And that people only do that for, improper, purposes, so. As a consequence, you've got people making decisions they don't know what the hell they're talking about and have never been exposed, to, the, real-world realities. So, that. Having. Lobbyists. Make representations, to, government, on those issues having. A small, business, owner under.
Who Understands. What the impact, of a rule or a regulation or, alleged, assault age will be talking. To government of that can be very very. Helpful, and, absent. Though. The, lobbying, effort, that. Won't take place because the default is just to listen to officials and and the people that are around. You. Also. Sorry. It's. Also very important, that lobbyists. Help. People that don't have a, voice or don't have have. Money to spend. We. Recently helped, on a pro, bono basis, pro, bono Ontario which is an organization, that support. Provides the legal support to those who, will not be covered by legal, aids so there's a there's, a gap as you probably know between people. Who can afford to pay for legal services those. Services, which which. Can be legally aided, and there's, a gap in the middle and pro, bono Ontario, exists, to plug, that gap, and. For. 15 years they were trying, to get proper, funding of the government of Ontario and had. No, luck, and these. Are very talented people, they're successful, lawyers they're good advocates, in their own courts. They know what they're doing but they could not unlock. The. Key to government, and our. Team gave, them. Some. Help we. Reframed. Their. Argument, in into, an argument that we knew would be. Sympathetically. Heard by. The wind government, and, we. Got them number, of millions of dollars in a long-term. Commitment. To long term support. That, would not have come, without. A lobbying, on the evidence, it wouldn't have come without a lobbying, effort. And one, of the things also now about this changed, about lobbying, is that, money doesn't matter anymore and, this. Is a big structural. Change, that I think for many, of your organization's is. Probably quite meaningful. Used. To be people. Who wrote the big checks got the most access, now. I don't think, they necessarily got, the most decisions, because. In my career I've only seen, once or twice people, do you. Know things that they ought not to have done it's just not where we we, don't live in a corrupt with, a corrupt, government. But. What, it used to be if an, organization, order check for a hundred or 150. Or 200. Thousand dollars they would get access for sure they. Would get four phone calls returned they will get a meeting with the minister for sure as, I. Said I don't believe the Minister did anything untoward but, they certainly got chances, here, now. Of course with no no donations, allowed by. Unions. No donations, allowed by business, and the maximum donation, roughly. 1,500, bucks through something money, doesn't matter you, can't buy that access. Anymore and the. Second, thing is, with social media, you're. Now able to very, inexpensively. Put. Together a coalition, of. People, geography. Doesn't matter anymore you. Can round those people up from communities, all across the province or all across the country and. You can have a voice just. As powerful as. The voice of any major. Lobbying organization. So, that changed, that structural, change between. Election. Finance reform. Attend. The advent of social media you. Put those two things together and anybody can be a lobbyist, and. That's, a big big change, and, it's. A big change from what, it. Used to what. It used to be so. If anybody, can be a lobbyist. Then. What are some of the and this is where I have my five ideas for you five. Ideas on how to be a good luck is how can you be the most efficacious. Lobbyist.
How, Can you make your government, relations plan the, most successful. And. The first is like any good, salesperson. You have to put yourself in the shoes of your customer, and you, have to create a benefit, for them so. Thinking. About going. Into that ministers. Office the premier's office the parameters, office rather. Than going in with your need you've. Got to think about what. Is the win for, them, is. It a legacy, win you. Have to remember all these politicians, no. Matter what legislature. They're in every. Day they, walk down the hall they see all those names chiseled. In marble right, and they, see all those big portraits. Of people and they want theirs there and they want their name chiseled, in marble as well all, they think about is a legacy, so, what is it about your ask that can perhaps drive you, know their legacy, what. Is it about your ass that they're ambitious right if they're the minister, of I. Don't. Know tourism. They want to be the Minister of Economic Development if their Minister of Economic Development they, might want to be the finance, minister, what, is it about your, ass or, how. You. Frame it can you create a win from them, can. You create a new geological win, right. Is this, somebody who isn't in in. In, power because, they're particularly, interested. In better, educating, our kids. Equality. For LGBTQ. People. You, know whatever. Are. They motivated because. Of, some crisis, in their own life they lost a child or, something you. Know it how, can you create. Your ask in. A way that. Creates a win for either the person or. For the government as, as. A whole, you. Know if for example if you're lobbying. The, Liberal, government, you. Know that, they cannot, win an election. Unless. They own. Management. Of health care, education. And let's, call it what, we call community and social services but but Human Services right they. Actually don't have to be that good on law and order and they don't have to be that good on finances, if they can do both then. They get a landslide, victory right. But if you're talking to conservatives, nobody would ever hired Stephen Harper to tuck them into bed and read them a bedtime story right so. You didn't give a about that okay, that's not his that wasn't his metier right so, you have to think what, is it that. You can how can you package, it and. I'm not talking about turning yourself into a prat solar being, something that you're not but, how can you package, it in a different way and along. With that language becomes, very important, and you. Know you can't just take a proposal, it has a blue cover on it rip the blue cover off and put a red cover it doesn't work like that you. Know conservatives, talk about families. Liberals. Talk about the middle class. They. Use different language. And it's, not hard to pick that language or just pick up their documents, and and. And copy the way you. Know they copy, the way they write in to the way that. You write so, it has resonance. And consonants. For, them and. Every. Government has its own language, conservatives. Like p3. Well. The Liberals came in they said p3 with most terrible thing of all time until. They found out that they were broke and they, needed some p3 so, they couldn't call it b3 so, they call it a PM. Alternate. Procurement. Method. Otherwise. Known as. P3, right but. If you put p3, into your proposal, they're gonna have a fit if you put but, their word in you're gonna have you're gonna have some, residents. The. Second, thing that's very important. Is. To. Be, aware that, your ask is, one. Of literally. An infinite number of, other, asks. Almost. All of which are. Legitimate. Almost. All of which are worthy. So. When, the minister, or the Treasury Board or the premier, are, adjudicating. Your eyes it's, not you're, asked about. Against. Screwball. Ridiculous. Waste. Of money now believe me it's government so there's a lot of those right. There's a lot of those but, they. Are actually, deciding. Between, two. Legitimate. Two, three ten, legitimate. Asks. So. You have to be aware about what other people are asking, for and how, can you sharpen, yours, how. Do you inject urgency. Because. The risk when you want something that costs the money is that. What they do is, they simply defer. It well if you don't we won't say no but we won't do it now because someone else is asked is more urgent and then. We'll do ours we'll, do yours next year so.
How Can you frame. Your ask in, a in a, way that. That. Makes, it. More. Important. Visa. Vie you. Know visa vie somebody, somebody. Else's. It. Is for. How. Many people here actually served, in government in a political, office or ministers office okay, so, you will all know that. The. Pace. Of. Work, the. Volume, of work and the volume, of material that you have to process is like essentially. Like no other job there is it, is unbelievable. Talk about drinking from a firehose it, you, know I I'm so, fed up with people who make jokes about officials. And political staffers, or whatever because they work, like maniacs they don't have enough resources, it's, it's very difficult proposition, and, they're. Always terrified that they're going to they're going to miss something so, it's really important. That you have a consistent, distilled. Message, that. You tell over, and over again and, I'll not, be upset. When, you're when, you have to meet with kids in short pants. Everybody. Complains, you know they're to meet these young people, or whether well you know what I'll. Tell you a secret those young people make a lot of decisions and they're. Smart as hell and they work really hard and, you. Underestimate. Them at your peril that's our system, they're, paid nothing, literally. Nothing their. Lives are destroyed their. Relationships. Broken up because. Hope they give them and they burn out and they last 18 months 24 months then. They go on to something else but while they're there they. Are extremely. Extremely, important. And it's not an offense and it's not a slight, if, I hear one more Big Shot business person complain, they, went to the Minister of Defense Minister, of Finance and talk, to some 28 your well you know what that 28, year old it's got a PhD in tax policy and knows more about this subject you'll ever know in your whole life and it's gonna be your boss soon so. A little, more respect, and, recognition. That that's the process will go will. Go a long way. The. Fourth idea is just to be very crisp. Write with elegant simplicity. Economy. And grace. Use. One, word when one word will do, don't. Overburden. Them, with documentation. And if you do learn. About this, thing called the appendix, all. Right in. Appendices, are wonderful, things right so if you do have a technical, argument, that you're making that does come with, a lot of documentation. Right. Ahead note, that, is easy to read and easy to understand, and refers, to, 942. Pages, you, know a background. Which almost no, one will. Will. Will, read. And. Then. The. Last point is, a version. Of the first point which. Is to offer, discover. The cross section, between, your. Objectives. And the changing, government objectives. So. For quite a few years I was the chair. Of the board of Casey house our AIDS Hospice, and. When, Casey house was established, our founders. Under. The law of unintended consequences thought. It would be good was with edge, we're dealing with so much AIDS phobia, and, homophobia. And stigma. Almost. 30 years ago, they. Got. It sorted so, that kcs would be a hospital. An. Actual, hospital, under the public hospitals. Act of Ontario, and they. Did that because they thought we would be taken more seriously. Well. That. Was good, in some ways but. It was bad in other ways because. Anyone, here from a Lynn. Know. Anyone here from Olin before. I cook I'm complaining about them okay good. So. The problem, for Casey house was it is in the Lynn which. Is the one that gives out the capital money right so if you want, money, for your capital, money for your hospital project you have to go to these Lynn things and the. Toronto central Lynn has in it Mount, Sinai, sick. Kids. University. Health Network st.. Michael's Bridge, Point and. Casey. Yes so. What do you think the chances of me getting forty five million dollars out of the Lynn were, called.
Zero Right so. What, we did was we sent our executive. Director to. The Lynn meetings, our. CEO she's got a title, bump, our. CEO and what she was supposed to do was. Whatever. They asked whatever. They wanted, she did they. Wanted in triplicate jet trouble yet they, want to pink riding on green papers whatever. They did and at. The end of the meeting. She, was to go like this and. They. Would say what. On earth is the problem and she, was supposed to say it's my board chair. He. Is, impossible. He's. An egomaniac. He's. Out of control. He's, embarrassing. He. Thinks he knows everything, he. Never listens. And then, they'll pat you on the head and say oh dear don't worry you. Know he's just a volunteer he'll, be gone a couple of years and you'll still be here you, know I heard, this story a thousand times right and then, the next month an excellent meeting she was both slit wrists and repeat do the same thing again and. The Kois he's still there oh she's, getting worse I don't know what to do, in. The meantime I. Figured. Out that. Calf, you know Casey has the corner of Isabella. And Jarvis. It's time Isabelle and Huntley and, that. Writing, that. My. AIDS Hospice, was in. The. NPP was, a guy by the name of George, Smitherman. Well. AIDS, is not as we know exclusively. A gay issue, it's, a lot gay and. I. Had, the. MPP. Was. Gay. The. Minister, of Health right. And. And. Like. This is a harmonic, convergence this, never happens right so, well she was, at the. Lynn. With. Her head in her hands complaining, about me I just, made an appointment I went and Lobby George and I. Got 45 million dollars out of them plus. I got three million dollars additional. Bit into baked into my into. Our base for fro the whole time now, MOH. LTC, went bananas, the Lynn went crazy they all went screaming, well. Go back go dr pi what 45 million dollars belt rex it's it's open, today taking care of people, that, need their, living with HIV and AIDS, and doing an amazing job it's the best in the world I'm so, proud of that place it's the best in the world but. We got it by framing. That as a win for George as a legacy, for George. If I was a policymaker. Was. That the best use, of the. Next 45, million dollars in Toronto, in. Health. Capital. Spending, I, don't. Know, was. There a more important, task it's the kids, or. At Princess Margaret or. Somewhere, else possibly. But. That wasn't, my job right. By what my responsibility, was it to the system my. Responsibility. Was to. My. Institution and. By. Finding. That sweet spot, where. He could have something that was important, to him we. Could do to know we. Got no special at once other than the approval, we. Didn't get any special treatment it's, not like we got to spend whatever we wanted we went through all the government, procurement, and all the, restructure Ontario rules and, everything, else not. Lobbying got that lobbying. Got that done same.
With Maple, Leaf Gardens the, conversion, of Maple Leaf Gardens for, Ireson. My. Office was successful. In framing. That in a way that, provided. The money for, Iverson, to actually. Close that deal. By finding, that space, because. Remember we. Got that money from the federal government, federal. Government really isn't in the post-secondary. Institution. Business, we. Found a way through. The appeal of hockey an. Iconic, building, that, meant a lot to a lot of people meant, a lot to the conservative, space and, as. A consequence, we, were able to be successful, for that select, cross-section, between what you want and and what, they want particularly. In the lead up to an election is. One. Way that you can be. Sure that, you. Get a fair, shot at. Getting. What you want, when another. Circumstances. You. And I said, there were two things there was one thing that I would break the rules of five one. Is being with the outs, and, because. The oats become, the ends and the other one that I would break is. Two. Is. That you you, miss a hundred, percent of the shots that you, don't take and. To. Use, another. Cliche, from the development, or the fundraising, world you, know there's not a shortage of donors there's, a shortage of haskers and. That. Is very true in government relations is. You need to be constantly. Asking. Constantly. Repackaging. Constantly, coming up with, another way of putting what. You want forward, and. While. You're doing that monitoring. The, changing. The. Changing. Dynamics. Of the situation, the changing, dynamics. Of the economy, the change it Animax of public opinion whether. The government's, on the way up both our governments on the on the way down but. You, just need to ask more and more and more.