'It was improper' - Macleans.ca

‘It was improper’

Ethics commissioner weighs in on Jim Flaherty’s letter to the CRTC

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A note from the ethics commissioner’s office about Jim Flaherty’s letter to the CRTC.

After looking into the matter of Minister Jim Flaherty’s letter of support on behalf of a business in his constituency, Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson issued a compliance order late yesterday afternoon to the Minister under section 30 of the Conflict of Interest Act.

In the order, she notes that it was improper for Mr. Flaherty, as a minister, to have written a letter of support to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission on behalf of a radio station in his constituency seeking a broadcasting licence from the CRTC. The order directs Mr. Flaherty to refrain from writing similar letters in the future without seeking approval from her office.

While ministers are not precluded from representing their constituents in their capacity as Members of Parliament, they are prohibited, under section 9 of the Act, from using their positions as public office holders to seek to influence decision making so as to improperly further the private interests of another person.

As the facts are clear and an order has been made, the Commissioner will not be launching an investigation.

Under section 30 of the Conflict of Interest Act, the Commissioner may order a public office holder to take any compliance measure that the Commissioner determines is necessary to comply with the Act. Compliance orders are posted in the public registry under the Act.

Kady O’Malley has the talking points from the Prime Minister’s Office.