Cabinet doors swing open for Encana

As dutifully flagged by @lobbywatcher today, Alberta oil giant Encana Corp. put a full-court lobbying press on the federal cabinet last month.

Communication reports filed with the Lobbying Commissioner show the following meetings:

On July 9, Encana officials met with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and Diane Ablonczy, minister of state for Foreign Affairs.

On July 13, Encana officials met with Kenney and Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose.

Encana also reported a meeting on the same day with Ambrose, Kenney, Ablonczy,  Bob Zimmer (MP), Peter Kent (Minister of the Environment), Andrea McGuigan (director of policy in PMO),  John Morris (Kent’s policy director ), Stephanie Machel (Kent’s chief of staff),  Michelle Rempel (MP, Kent’s parliamentary secretary), Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty, and Patrick Donnelly, (Ambrose’s chief of staff).

So, lots of action. But what was it about?

As a fan of government transparency, I’m grateful that the Federal Accountability Act required this level of reporting of meetings between lobbyists and public office holders. But it doesn’t mean much unless we are told the subject matter, beyond the vague description “Energy.”

For instance, I’d like to know why the citizenship and immigration minister, and the public works minister, were involved. Because they’re Alberta MPs?

I’d also be curious about why the natural resources minister wasn’t there.

I’m waiting for a call back from Encana, though in my experience, lobbyists never say why they meet with government officials.

UPDATE: In initial call, Encana flack noted that the dates correspond to the Calgary Stampede, so these meeting quite likely were hosted by Encana in Calgary. This would explain the presence of Conservative cabinet ministers with no apparent portfolio relevance to the energy industry.

(Disclosure: I own Encana stock in my RRSP portfolio.)

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