Pallister fully compliant: PCs
Say he has disclosed all Costa Rican properties after report outlines his foreign holdings
PROGRESSIVE Conservative Leader Brian Pallister says he has complied with Manitoba public-disclosure rules after a Costa Rican newspaper reported he owns several properties in the central American country through a holding company.
The Costa Rica Star, in a report Saturday, said a public-records search showed Pallister owns three parcels of land, through a holding company, in a “highly sought-after” coastal area of Costa Rica. The three parcels, totalling 13.26 acres, have a taxable value of US$134,000, although the newspaper notes that is likely a fraction of its commercial value.
The paper also reported Pallister also controls a second holding company that owns two vehicles. It said it is common practice for foreign nationals to place real estate and vehicles in holding companies.
The NDP were quick to jump on the information, noting Pallister did not disclose the property in conflict- of-interest forms submitted to the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba.
An NDP political operative handed out details to reporters Saturday on their way into a news conference at the PC party headquarters, at which Tory spokeswoman MLA Heather Stefanson responded to a charge by NDP Leader Greg Selinger a Tory government might force some cancer patients to pay for their own drugs. Stefanson called the accusation baseless and said she was “disgusted” Selinger “was playing politics with cancer patients.”
Stefanson did not respond to the Costa Rican newspaper report, but the PCs issued a statement late Saturday that said Pallister had always fully complied with disclosure obligations as an MLA and had acted on the advice from the province’s conflict of interest commissioner in doing so.
The statement said Pallister’s property in Costa Rica actually consists of four parcels of land. One contains his vacation home, while the others are pasture and grassland.
“Mr. Pallister conducts no business activity in Costa Rica and owns no revenue-generating property,” the statement said, adding by publicizing the newspaper report, the NDP were resorting “to every possible smear tactic.”
Pallister has faced criticism for the amount of time he has spent in Costa Rica since he was elected MLA for Fort Whyte in a 2012 byelection. He also admitted he was there during the height of the 2014 Assiniboine River flood after CBC obtained documents placing him in the country at that time.
Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister applauds a performance at the Vaisakhi Mela celebration at the Punjab Cultural Centre Saturday.