Uber acted as a “global lobbying machine,” writes the ICIJ in The Uber Files. Image: ICIJ
In surprising testimony on February 6th, Ottawa Program Manager Christine Hartig indicated that City staff could not charge Uber for violating the law because they could not find Uber.
In a line of questioning regarding why City Enforcement staff were charging individual Uber drivers, but not Uber corporately, Hartig replied, “Uber is an app. Who do you charge?”
Hartig’s LinkedIn profile shows her title as “Program Manager, Operations Support & Regulatory Services, City of Ottawa.” This means she falls into a salary range of $105,581.84 - $133,531.58.
Counsel for plaintiff Metro Taxi Marion Sandilands pointed out that lobbyists for Uber registered 41 meetings with Ottawa City staff and Councillors between October 2014 and April 2016.
Sandilands also noted that Uber registered 25 communications activities directly with Hartig. Hartig herself met four times with Uber’s Legal Director Jeremy Miller.
When asked to confirm the fact of the meetings and the number of the meetings, Hartig stated that she trusted the Lobbists’ Registry: “If it’s in there, it’s true, I would say.”
On January 27, 2015, the Lobbyist Registry listed a meeting between Christine Hartig and Chris Shaefer, who was then head of Uber Canada.
Sandilands also indicated that Uber listed 57 communications with then-Mayor Jim Watson, and 56 with Councillor Diane Deans.
In July, 2022, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists release “The Uber Files,” based upon whistle-blower Mark MacGann’s personal experience of how Uber “muscled into new markets, then managed the fallout, spending gobs of cash on a global influence machine deployed to win favors from politicians, regulators and other leaders, who were often eager to lend a hand.”