Tuesday, December 18, 2012

On revealed connections

Simon Enoch's study mapping corporate power in Saskatchewan may be one of the most important pieces of research I've seen in quite some time - and I'll highly encourage visitors to give it a thorough read. But I'll quibble with one aspect of Enoch's conclusion - he's done more work to tie together multiple stands of corporate influence than his proposed policy prescription could possibly hope to accomplish.

After analyzing the board and executive structures of corporations, interest groups and government structures alike and demonstrating the striking correlation between them, Enoch's headline takeaway is this:
As record amounts of corporate money flood our political system, Saskatchewan urgently needs a publicly accessible lobbyist registry to let citizens track corporate lobbying. As one of the few provinces that do not currently have a lobbyist registry, Saskatchewan is vulnerable to the perception that corporations have undue influence over both major political parties.
But as I've pointed out, lobbying registries themselves tend to distort at least as much as they illuminate - particularly since anybody with sufficient insider influence to be sought out by a sitting government avoids any scrutiny whatsoever. And as Enoch notes, the most incestuous institution in the province looks to be...Enterprise Saskatchewan, consisting of a group of individuals hand-selected by the Wall government to develop economic policy based on corporate interests, and whose activities would be utterly untouched by a registry of outside lobbying.

Which is just the most obvious example suggesting that Enoch's work may shed far more light on the interconnection between corporate decision-makers than a lobbying registry. And I'll very much hope to see the first study evolve to go even further in tracing the real links between money and power on Saskatchewan's political scene.

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