06 December 2007

Newfound Group lobbying province apparently without lobbyist registration

Newfound Group has been lobbying the provincial government for assistance with the Humber valley resort yet no lobbyists have been registered, as required by provincial law. [Update: See correction below]

Interviewed by CBC Radio's David Cochrane, Jeremy White, president of Newfound Group said the company has been working with the province to have the province lobby Air Canada to restore a direct flight between St. John's and London.

White also said his company was seeking provincial government assistance with its marketing program. He said the provincial government had offered to help defray some of the company's annual marketing program. White indicated that the company the government had been working closely together to deal with the company's financial issues.

However, the provincial lobbyist register contains no entries for anyone or any company related to Newfound.

The provincial lobbyist registration act requires that a company lobbying the provincial government register within 10 days of starting any lobbying activities. [Correction: The 10 day rule applies if the company is using a consultant lobbyist.] The online registry is current as of 21 November. An in-house lobbyist must register if his lobbying activity constitutes 20% or more of his or her time during a three month period.

In July 2007, Humber Valley Resort hired former tourism minister Paul Shelley as its new general manager. Shelley retired from politics on July 13 and was replaced in cabinet in January, having signalled his intention not to seek re-election in the fall. Shelley was human resources minister at the time of his departure from cabinet.

In addition to any political heights Shelley has scaled, his days at Humber Valley have included the odd rock wall, as this video shows. This and other videos on the resort can be found on the resort blog.

Shelley isn't the only Humber Valley executive with ties to the current administration. Humber Valley chief executive officer Brian Dobbin serves on the provincial government's Irish business partnership board. He is also publisher of The Independent newspaper.

Neither Shelley nor Dobbin is listed in the provincial lobbyist registry.