Fundraiser for heritage minister 'crosses the line,' says Liberal MP
Published Friday, January 17, 2014 10:05PM EST
Last Updated Friday, January 17, 2014 11:14PM EST
Heritage Minister Shelly Glover is under fire from opposition MPs over a fundraising event where members of Winnipeg’s art and culture community were asked to donate money to the cabinet minister -- donations that may have breached federal conflict-of-interest rules.
CTV News showed up to the Thursday evening fundraiser, held at a Winnipeg home, asking to talk to Glover who was in attendance. Upon seeing a CTV News reporter, Glover asked, “What are they doing here?” and subsequently said she had “stopped in briefly” to the event.
CTV News was then asked to leave the house by the homeowner when the reporter asked Glover why she was taking money from people who depend on her department for funding.
According to federal conflict-of-interest rules, cabinet ministers are forbidden to “to solicit or accept funds from a person or organization who has lobbied or is likely to lobby the public officer holder of the officer or department.” The rules go on to say that a minister must avoid “situations where issues of preferential treatment of other conflicts could arise.”
The event’s invitation, which was obtained by CTV News, reveals that invitees to the event were “primarily of the cultural community of Winnipeg.”
Glover later told CTV News that fundraisers were something “we do all the time.”
“I am the MP for St Boniface, this is a member of the board's home, they can invite whoever they want,” she said.
Opposition MPs said on Friday that the event raises serious ethical questions.
“This kind of event clearly crosses the line,” Ralph Goodale, the deputy leader of the Liberal Party, told CTV News. “It is improper, and quite frankly the donation should be paid back.”
Charlie Angus, the NDP Critic for Ethics, also said the fundraiser was inappropriate.
“What’s next? Is she going to charge admission in her office here,” he told CTV News. “This is the kind of behavior that Canadians I think are getting fed up with.”
Glover’s office emailed CTV News Friday afternoon to say that some of the guests at the fundraiser did have dealings with her department and that Glover has decided not to accept any of the $1,200 raised at the event.
She also said that it was her riding association who sent out invitations, and she had no involvement in selecting guests.
She said that she has told her riding association to never again hold an event that could contravene federal rules, and has written a letter to the federal ethics commissioner asking if the event could get her in trouble.
With a report from CTV’s Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife