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Lobbying Commissioner Clears Rob Silver, Who Is Husband of PM’s Chief of Staff

Brittany Jordan



Chief of staff Katie Telford, left, looks on as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his opening remarks during the Meeting of First Ministers in Ottawa on Dec. 9, 2016. (The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick)

OTTAWA—Rob Silver, the husband of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s chief of staff, has been cleared of any wrongdoing by the federal lobbying commissioner.

Nancy Belanger says Silver spent about 70 minutes cumulatively talking to public office holders about two different emergency aid programs on behalf of mortgage finance company MCAP.

She says MCAP staff put in another two hours of preparation time for those discussions.

Belanger concludes the “low volume and short duration” of Silver’s communications fall “well short” of the threshold that would have required MCAP or Silver to register their lobbying activities.

Last September, federal ethics commissioner Mario Dion dismissed Conservative allegations of conflict of interest against Silver and his wife, Katie Telford.

The Lobbying Act requires a company to register in-house lobbying activities when communications with public office holders constitute “a significant part” of the duties of its employees, either individually or collectively.

The commissioner has interpreted that to mean the equivalent of 20 per cent or more of the duties of any one employee, including preparation time—about 32 hours over a four-week period.

Brittany Jordan is an award-winning journalist who reports on breaking news in the U.S. and globally for the Federal Inquirer. Prior to her position at the Federal Inquirer, she was a general assignment features reporter for Newsweek, where she wrote about technology, politics, government news and important global events around the world. Her work has also appeared in the Washington Post, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Toronto Star, Frederick News-Post, West Hawaii Today, the Miami Herald, and more. Brittany enjoys food, travel, photography, and hoarding notebooks and journals. Her goal is to do more longform features journalism, narrative writing and documentary work, and to one day write a successful novel and screenplay.

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