Heritage Minister Shelly Glover cleared on conflict of interest

Conservative MP Shelly Glover was cleared of conflict of interest allegations. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Adrian Wyld

WINNIPEG — Heritage Minister Shelly Glover didn’t breach the conflict of interest law in connection with a fundraiser early this year, says the federal ethics commissioner.

While Glover didn’t personally ask for funds or ask anyone to do so on her behalf, it was inappropriate that Heritage Department stakeholders were invited to make donations to attend the event, said Mary Dawson.

The law should be changed to make it clear that a minister or parliamentary secretary who knows — or ought to know — that money was being solicited in such circumstances would be wrong to let it go ahead, said Dawson.

Glover was saved by a technicality, said Charlie Angus, the NDP ethics critic.

“Ms. Dawson is very, very, very, very shy of ever finding fault,” Angus said, adding that it’s clear what went on was inappropriate.

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“It doesn’t pass the smell test.”

Ministers and parliamentary secretaries should make sure that their staff and electoral district officials are fully briefed on the conflict of interest rule,s said the watchdog.

The act bars public office holders from personally soliciting funds from any person or organization if it would place them in a conflict of interest.

The Prime Minister’s Office has issued guidance that requires official duties be kept separate from political fundraising, and that ministers and parliamentary secretaries ensure adequate processes are in place to ensure compliance.

Angus says he doesn’t know if the government will follow Dawson’s suggestion and tighten up the act.

“This government loves loopholes on ethics and lobbying.”

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