Ethics czar raps LeBlanc over li­cence con­flict

Rel­a­tive worked for firm given surf-clam li­cence

Calgary Herald - - CANADA - Teresa Wright

• Canada’s fed­eral ethics watch­dog ruled Wed­nes­day that In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal Af­fairs Min­is­ter Do­minic LeBlanc vi­o­lated the con­flict of in­ter­est act when he ap­proved an Arc­tic surf clam li­cence to a com­pany em­ploy­ing a fam­ily mem­ber.

Ethics Com­mis­sioner Mario Dion said in a re­port that LeBlanc knew his wife’s first cousin was in­volved in the Five Na­tions Clam Co. when he awarded it a mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar li­cence in Fe­bru­ary. LeBlanc should have re­cused him­self from the de­ci­sion, since it pro­vided an op­por­tu­nity to fur­ther the in­ter­ests of his spouse’s cousin, Gilles The­ri­ault, Dion said in his rul­ing.

“If a pub­lic of­fice holder is aware of a po­ten­tial op­por­tu­nity to fur­ther the pri­vate in­ter­ests of a rel­a­tive through the ex­er­cise of an of­fi­cial power, duty or func­tion, the pub­lic of­fice holder must be

THE PUB­LIC OF­FICE HOLDER MUST BE VIG­I­LANT IN AVOID­ING SUCH CON­FLICTS OF IN­TER­EST.

vig­i­lant in avoid­ing such con­flicts of in­ter­est,” he said.

The deal, which would have ended a 19-year mo­nop­oly on the Arc­tic clam fish­ery held by Clear­wa­ter Seafoods, was sup­posed to of­fer 25 per cent of the catch to lo­cal In­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties to help pro­mote rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and eco­nomic growth.

But it came un­der scru­tiny af­ter court doc­u­ments sug­gested the com­pany did not meet the fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s ini­tial el­i­gi­bil­ity re­quire­ments, and that the com­pany had close ties to the fed­eral Lib­er­als — in­clud­ing the fam­ily ties to LeBlanc.

Dion said he de­cided on his own to launch an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the deal af­ter he be­came aware of the fam­ily con­nec­tion in­volv­ing Leblanc and the com­pany.

LeBlanc was shuf­fled out as fisheries min­is­ter in July, the same month the gov­ern­ment de­cided to can­cel the li­cence and start over.

Do­minic LeBlanc

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