SIDEWALK LABS HIRING OF LIBERAL STAFFER SHOWS AN UNHEALTHY REVOLVING DOOR FOR BIG TECH - ANGUS
Updated: Dec 5, 2018
Ottawa – NDP MP and ethics critic Charlie Angus (Timmins - James Bay) said today that the latest hiring of a Liberal ministerial staffer and extensive lobbying campaign by the troubled Google sister company Sidewalk Labs shows more evidence of an unhealthy “revolving door” relationship between the federal Liberals and the American tech giant.
“Sidewalk Labs has been facing fair criticism about their approach to public engagement for a potentially transformative, generational project on Toronto’s waterfront. It’s extremely disturbing to me that their response to that criticism has been to double down on their insider links with the Trudeau government. They need to be reassuring the public that they take the issues of transparency and good governance more seriously."
It was reported last week that Sidewalk has lobbied upwards of 19 federal departments, including the Prime Minister’s Office. At least two ministerial staffers from the Department of Infrastructure and Communities, which oversees the federal government’s relationship with Waterfront Toronto, have left the government to work for Sidewalk Labs directly. In addition to the Department of Infrastructure and Communities, a former Google public affairs executive has been the Chief of Staff to the Minister of Heritage, who oversees key digital policy files, since the Liberal government was sworn in in 2015.
“This unhealthy culture of coziness between the Liberal government and Sidewalk /Google is not in the public interest,” Angus said. "We’re seeing international calls for more oversight and regulation of the American data giants. In Canada, we seem to be going in the other direction, with Liberals going to Google and Google embedding itself into the Liberal government. This Toronto deal is looking more and more like a sweetheart deal for Google/Sidewalk Labs. The Liberal government needs to start putting the public interest ahead of their friends at Google.”