Liberal MP asks ethics watchdog to investigate Aglukkaq over fundraiser
Conservative MP Leona Aglukkaq attended a fundraiser in her honour at an upscale hotel in Ottawa, Ont., Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014.
Published Wednesday, January 29, 2014 10:02PM EST
A Liberal MP is asking the federal ethics watchdog to investigate a fundraiser held in cabinet minister Leona Aglukkaq’s honour, where guests included people who receive funding from her department.
Scott Andrews, the Liberal critic for open government and ethics, has written a letter to Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson asking her to investigate Aglukkaq’s actions in relation to Tuesday’s fundraiser.
Aglukkaq, who is the environment minister and the minister of economic development for the North, attended the event at an upscale Ottawa hotel, where guests donated $100 to also attend and got 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.
In his letter to Dawson, Andrews also says: “Public records show that on August 28, 2013 the Inuvialuit Community Economic Development Organization, a sub-entity of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, received $441,500 directly from the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency.”
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.”
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."
Dawson recently said she would begin investigating Heritage Minister Shelly Glover, over a fundraiser held in her name where members of Winnipeg’s art and culture community were asked to donate money.