Lobbying commissioner clears Rob Silver, who is husband of PM's chief of staff

Lobbyist Rob Silver, husband of the prime minister's chief of staff, has been cleared of wrongdoing by the lobbying commissioner, who says Silver's lobbying of public office holders for a mortgage company did not take the time required to be considered lobbying.

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.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 10, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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