Guests at fundraiser honouring Aglukkaq get funding from her department
Published Tuesday, January 28, 2014 10:00PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 28, 2014 11:55PM EST
Conservative MP Leona Aglukkaq, the minister of economic development for the North, attended a fundraiser in her honour Tuesday evening where guests included the very people who receive funding from her department.
After Aglukkaq learned that CTV News had staked out the fundraiser at an upscale Ottawa hotel, she entered through a shopping mall entrance rather than the hotel’s front doors.
Guests donated $100 to attend the event with Aglukkaq, who is also the environment minister, and will get a $50 tax break.
One of the special guests was Nellie Cournoyea, the former premier of the Northwest Territories and now the chair of Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, which received more than $200,000 in funding from Aglukkaq’s department last year.
Under federal government conflict of interest rules, cabinet ministers should not “solicit or accept funds from a person or organization who has lobbied or is likely to lobby the public office holders or their office, department or committee.”
The rules also say ministers must avoid “situations where issues of preferential treatment or other conflicts of interest could arise.”
Tuesday’s fundraiser coincided with the Northern Lights trade conference in Ottawa.
Nunavut Premier Peter Taptuna said he attended the event because it’s smart politics.
“We’re down here to up the profile of our territory of Nunavut,” he said.
Late Tuesday, Aglukkaq’s office insisted the minister followed conflict of interest rules, saying anyone who benefitted from her department did not pay for a ticket and were simply invited guests.
"Care has been taken not to solicit or accept funds from lobbyists or departmental stakeholders,” Jennifer Kennedy, Aglukkaq’s director of communications, said in an email to CTV News.
"The Nunavut Electoral District Association operates a rigorous screening procedure, both before and after events, to ensure that only appropriate donations are accepted."
Another cabinet minister, Shelly Glover, recently landed in hot water over a fundraiser held in her name, where members of Winnipeg’s art and culture community were asked to donate money.
As the federal heritage minister, Glover’s portfolio oversees issues related to culture.
Federal Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson said she would investigate the Glover fundraiser, which was held at a private home, to see if it violated the Conflict of Interest Act.
With a report from CTV’s Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife