Testing the Laurentian hypothesis: regionalism and federal lobbying access
Keywords:Interest groups, Regionalism, Lobbying
The literature on regional representation within the federal policy process has had limited engagement with interest group composition. While some have referenced an Ottawa ‘bubble,’ there has been no empirical demonstration. This paper responds to this gap in assessing how regional location affects organizational access to the federal government. Leveraging existing datasets through the Commissioner of Lobbying and some additional data collection, we test hypotheses relating to central Canadian lobbying. Our analysis makes three core contributions. First, we find that lobbying from central Canada has a statistically and substantively significant increase in expected average meeting counts per month. The Great Lakes-Laurentian region in particular sees higher access. Second, using the ‘five region-Canada’ model, we find that Ontario organizations are more active than most regions except the Prairies. Contrary to popular discourse, we find little evidence that Prairies organizations receive less access on average. Third, our findings are consistent when fixating on central agencies.