Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands, today filed a complaint with Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson, calling for an investigation into conflict of interest allegations relating to the Harper Conservatives.
“I have reviewed research by Democracy Watch that raises serious questions about whether a breach of ethics rules has occurred regarding meetings between Rahim Jaffer and various representatives of the Conservative government on behalf of various companies in 2009 and 2010,” said May. “The research suggests that the representatives of the Conservative government gave preferential treatment to certain companies and people represented by Mr. Jaffer. This needs to be investigated fully.”
Democracy Watch’s research is available online at: http://www.dwatch.ca/camp/jaffer-documents.pdf.
May’s letter states: “To have any effect at all on ethical standards in government decision-making processes, which is the purpose of the Act, giving someone an advantage must be interpreted to include making any decision that gives them an advantage, including decisions to communicate with them more directly and with more priority than one communicates with anyone else in a similar position, and granting or arranging meetings with them with more priority than one meets with anyone else in a similar position.”
Jaffer is a former Conservative Member of Parliament, who represented Edmonton-Strathcona until 2008 when he lost the seat to New Democrat Linda Duncan. He has been the subject of repeated controversies, including a fake radio interview where it was revealed that an aide was impersonating him and special treatment after being charged with drunk driving and possession of cocaine.
“It is evident that Mr. Jaffer was allowed to use government and parliamentary resources and office space for his business activities, which is a breach of ethics,” said May.
Democracy Watch’s opinion is that there is clear evidence that gives rise to a reasonable belief that David Pierce, Doug Maley, Brian Jean, Sébastian Togneri, and Helena Guergis provided preferential treatment to people and organizations represented by Rahim Jaffer because these people and organizations were represented by Mr. Jaffer.
“Democracy Watch prepared exhaustive research pointing out multiple breaches of the Conflict of Interest Act by Conservative government representatives and sent it to the Ethics Commissioner in May, 2010, and these breaches should finally be fully investigated by the Ethics Commissioner,” said May. “I am submitting this complaint in part as an attempt to expose and rein in a majority government that seems determined to ignore the established laws, rules, and traditions of our democracy. The list of scandals is too long to tolerate.”