Redford blasted over potential conflict of interest in tobacco suit
Published Thursday, November 29, 2012 11:49AM EST
Alberta Premier Alison Redford came under fire Wednesday as the opposition questioned her over what they believe may be a potential conflict of interest.
Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith and NDP Leader Brian Mason said Redford showed poor judgement when she wrote a memo in 2010 recommending a $10-billion contract be awarded to a group of law firms, including one where her ex-husband is employed.
The contract was to sue tobacco companies to recover some of the costs associated with smoking.
“The premier awarding a multi-billion dollar litigation suit to a firm connected to her ex-husband, close friend, political confident, regular donor and the man who oversaw her transition into the premier’s chair in a seven-week span is a matter of serious ethical concern,” said Smith in the Alberta Legislature.
Redford denied Smith’s suggestion of ethical wrongdoing and said Smith’s claims were “absolutely inaccurate and false.”
“When the decision was made by the government of Alberta as to who to retain on this file, I was not the justice minister, I was not a member of cabinet. I was an MLA running to be the leader of this party,” said Progressive Conservative Redford.
The opposition has called for an emergency debate on the issue.
At issue is a memo written by Redford on Dec. 14, 2010 that stated: “Considering the perceived conflicts of interest, actual conflicts of interest, the structure of the contingency arrangement and the importance of a ‘made in Alberta’ litigation plan, the best choice for Alberta will be the International Tobacco Recovery Lawyers.”
One week earlier, on Dec. 7, 2010, a brief rated all three bidders vying for the contract as capable and roughly equal.
With a report by CTV Calgary’s Bill Macfarlane