NDP accuses Raitt of conflict-of-interest

Official opposition claims labour minister received perks from Air Canada CEO

The NDP is calling for a formal investigation into conflict-of-interest allegations involving Labour Minister Lisa Raitt after it was reported she accepted a free seat upgrade from Air Canada CEO and executive vice-president Duncan Dee. The upgrade, worth about $550 $450, took Raitt from economy to business class, and occurred on Sept. 25. Raitt’s chief of staff, Douglas Smith, reportedly received the same perk on Oct. 10. Raitt’s office has denied the upgrades ever took place. The accusation comes after Raitt moved to block a strike by Air Canada’s flight attendants earlier this week.

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NDP accuses Raitt of conflict-of-interest

  1. That’s just silly.  She wouldn’t sell out her own union-organising father for $550, would she?

  2. If an MP accepts a free upgrade given for no apparent reason, it’s possibly a conflict of interest because of the MP’s potential for being in a position someday to apply influence in favor of the giver.  If the free upgrade is given to a Minister of the Crown who is able to exercise her powers in the immediate future in favor of the giver, it looks very much like a bribe offered and, if accepted, a bribe received, doesn’t it?  The RCMP should perhaps be called in and I would not be at all surprised to see the Ethics Commissioner refer the matter to them.

    • No, everyone involved will laugh this out of existence. MPs frequently get upgraded if there’s a better seat free, as a general courtesy.

      • um, she is actively working on this file. Its not like Tony Clement took the upgrade, she is making decisions that directly benefit the management of the organization that gave her the perk. How can you spin that?

      • Lisa Rait is not just an “MP”.  She is the Minister of Labour.  She should not be accepting gratis upgrades from ANY organization whose labour force is under Federal jurisdiction.  It is particularly problematic when she is making decisions which appear to be tilted in said employer’s favour.  If it looks like conflict of interest, it probably is. 

  3. Definitely a conflict, since as it was displayed on the evening news the upgrade was requested by the ceo if AC. There is full documented evidence. Upgrades are fine if they’re done by the gate, check-in staff, or even crew, but that’s not likely to happen with the minister’s action….is it:) So it had to be officially ordered from the top….that is a conflict.

    • Are you talking about the original report?  Raitt is claiming she used points to “pay” for the upgrade.  If that is the case, it won’t matter whose name is on the ticket will it because she paid her own way.

      • If she used points, why does the upgrade say authorized by Duncan Dee?

        • Click on the source “City News” above.  It says that Raitt’s office provided  an email from a travel agent confirming Raitt’s request that her own personal points were to be used to pay for the upgrade.  She offered this email as proof to the NDP that she did not request nor accept a “free” upgrade from the CEO of Air Canada.  The NDP, however, are still demanding a full enquiry.
          If you think about it, it would be VERY stupid to jeopardize your career for a $450.00 upgrade when you likely have countless travel points. 

          • yes i visited that link. There is proof of all other aligations except the evidence you reference. Could you point me to the Minister’s evidence please?

          • It says right in the body of the article that on “Thursday the Minister’s office sent City News a copy of the email from the travel agent’ where the ministers staff had requested the upgrade using the minister’s points from her electronic account.  It went on to say that the Minister contended that this was proof that she did not request any upgrade from the CEO and had no knowledge of same.  However, the NDP was still asking for a full investigation.  The article then showed a copy of the letter from the NDP asking for an investigation.
            You are absolutely right that CityNews did NOT show a copy of the Minister’s email from the travel agent but they did say she did provide them with one.  I do not know how you did not find that in the article, I just clicked on the source in the Macleans article above and up came the City News article dated 10/14/2011 with that information in it.

  4. reminds me of a quotation heard many years ago .. ” there’s lion tamers and there’s lying bastards, and you ( madam or sir ) are not a lion tamer “ 

  5. What a bunch of morons the NDP are, trying to make this into a big stink.  Now it becomes a waste of time as is developes into ‘tit for tat’ politics.  Grow up NDP!!!
     
    “Six members of Jack Layton’s family, including his widow Olivia Chow, accepted free seat upgrades from Air Canada in August for travel to the late NDP leader’s lying in state on Parliament Hill.
     
    NDP officials, who were organizing Mr. Layton’s funeral, asked Air Canada for the upgrades, according to an airline source familiar with the funeral arrangements. It is not clear if they were all for family or if some included staff members.”
     
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-notebook/ndp-sought-air-canada-upgrades-for-laytons-funeral/article2203285/

    • There is a difference between ordinary free upgrades offered to politicians of various political stripes and upgrades offered to the MINISTER of LABOUR, especially during a time of labour unrest at the airline. 
      BTW I would have the same issue if any airline was offering free upgrades offered to an Opposition Labour critic – same issue – potential for conflict of interest.

      • Yes, clearly, the decision on what to do about the AC unions will be made on the basis of that she got a free upgrade. That is the only possible factor in play. A cabinet minister is obviously easily bribed with a trivial favour and it must therefore disqualify her from acting on this file, as she might be swayed by the incalculable value of that upgrade and the possibility of future upgrades.

        Do you know how petty you people sound sometimes?

        • And who would “you people” be.  Someone who criticises this gov’t?  Do you know how partisan you sound?  I’m speaking to the big picture here.  A Minister of the Crown should not be accepting any freebie – no matter how small and inconsequential it seems – from an organization she is in a position to make decisions which impact their business.  Particulary when her actions give reason to believe she is favouring Air Canada in their labour dispute.

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