Ethics probe clears PM’s chief of staff

Lethbridge Herald - - Headline News | Canada & Beyond - THE CANA­DIAN PRESS — OTTAWA

The fed­eral ethics watch­dog has dis­missed Con­ser­va­tive al­le­ga­tions of con­flict of in­ter­est in­volv­ing Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau’s chief of staff and her hus­band.

Ethics com­mis­sioner Mario Dion says the al­le­ga­tions are “spec­u­la­tive” and do not pro­vide “a fac­tual ba­sis to sup­port the be­lief that a con­tra­ven­tion” of the Con­flict of In­ter­est Act may have oc­curred.

Con­se­quently, Dion says he’s in­formed Con­ser­va­tive MPs Pierre Poilievre and Michael Bar­rett that their re­quest for an in­ves­ti­ga­tion does not meet the re­quire­ments of the act.

His con­clu­sion was re­layed in a Sept. 15 let­ter, ob­tained by The Cana­dian Press, to Trudeau’s chief of staff, Katie Telford.

The Con­ser­va­tives’ al­le­ga­tions re­volved around a re­port that Telford’s hus­band, Rob Sil­ver, had lob­bied aides in the Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice and the fi­nance min­is­ter’s of­fice to change the rules for the fed­eral emer­gency wage sub­sidy pro­gram so that mort­gage fi­nance com­pany MCAP would be el­i­gi­ble.

Sil­ver is a se­nior vi­cepres­i­dent with MCAP, a post he has held since Jan­uary.

Telford has set up an ethics screen to pre­vent her in­volve­ment in any de­ci­sion re­lated to MCAP, even though Dion’s of­fice had ad­vised her it wasn’t nec­es­sary.

But in their let­ter to Dion re­quest­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion, Poilievre and Bar­rett al­leged an elab­o­rate scheme to ben­e­fit Sil­ver and, by ex­ten­sion, Telford.

They in­cluded a graphic of a so-called “sil­ver tri­an­gle,” de­tail­ing what they re­ferred to as a “trin­ity of in­ter­ests” be­tween Telford, Sil­ver and Mike Mc­Nair, a former pol­icy ad­viser in the PMO.

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