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Given new details disclosed yesterday, Democracy Watch’s third letter again asks Alberta Ethics Commissioner to rule on Minister Schweitzer appointing Steve Allan as inquiry commissioner

New details show even more election campaigning by Allan for Schweitzer

Courts and other ethics watchdogs in Canada have ruled in the past that election campaign assistance creates a clear conflict of interest

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, January 29, 2020

OTTAWA – Today, Democracy Watch released its third letter it has sent to Alberta Ethics Commissioner Marguerite Trussler setting out new details revealed yesterday by the CBC about even more election campaigning by Steve Allan for Doug Schweitzer. Like its first letter on December 11th, and second letter on January 17th, DWatch’s third letter calls on Commissioner Trussler to issue a public ruling finding that Minister Schweitzer violated Alberta’s government ethics law by recommending the appointment of Allan to a $290,000 job as commissioner heading up the inquiry into foreign-funding of environmental groups.

Attached to the third letter are emails that show Allan not only helped organize a campaign event for Schweitzer at a golf club, but also in his own home, as well as sending out emails to friends, neighbours and colleagues urging them to vote for Schweitzer.

Democracy Watch sent the second letter after Commissioner Trussler claimed that its 9-page first letter had not provided facts to back up its allegations.

“Given the clear evidence set out in Democracy Watch’s complaint letters, hopefully Ethics Commissioner Trussler will do the right thing and issue a public ruling very soon finding that Minister Schweitzer violated the provincial ethics law by participating in the decision to appoint Steve Allan as inquiry commissioner,” said Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch.

Subsection 2(1) of Alberta’s Conflicts of Interest Act prohibits a Minister from influencing or taking part in a decision when knowing the decision might further the interests of a person directly associated with the Minister, s. 3 prohibits a Minister from improperly further someone else’s interests, and the Preamble to the Act says all provincial politicians are expected to act with integrity and impartiality” and perform their duties of office and arrange their private affairs in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity of each Member…”

By assisting Minister Schweitzer’s election efforts in these ways, Mr. Allan created a sense of obligation on the part of Minister Schweitzer to return the favour, which recommending Allan to a position that pay $290,000 definitely did. In this way, Schweitzer improperly further Allan’s private interests.

As a result, as pages 3-9 of Democracy Watch’s complaint letter set out, based on a 1993 ruling by B.C.’s Conflict of Interest Commissioner about people assisting with a Minister’s election campaign (especially p. 31, and pp. 34-39), and the unanimous Federal Court of Appeal ruling Democracy Watch won in 2009 (paras. 52-53), and a related federal lobbying rule, and past rulings concerning what are improper actions are by politicians by the federal and Ontario ethics commissioners, and the federal lobbying commissioner Democracy Watch’s position is that Minister Schweitzer violated the Conflict of Interest Act by participating in the appointment of Steve Allan.

Ethics Commissioner Trussler is not required to investigate, but Democracy Watch’s position is that it would be simply negligent for her to fail to do so given the clear evidence that Minister Schweitzer and Mr. Allan are directly associated, and that Allan provided significant assistance to Schweitzer’s election efforts.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch
Tel: (613) 241-5179
Cell: 416-546-3443
Email: info@democracywatch.ca

Democracy Watch’s Government Ethics Campaign