The Liberal campaign’s co-chair has “decided to take a step back” from his responsibilities just days before Canadians head to the polls after emailing TransCanada with tips on how the pipeline company should lobby a Liberal or NDP government.
Dan Gagnier released a statement Wednesday night saying he wanted “to avoid becoming a distraction to the campaign.”
On Monday Gagnier sent five people at TransCanada Corp. an email advising them to target the right people in a new government as quickly as possible so they can help shape either Liberal or NDP decisions on a national energy strategy.
Earlier on Wednesday the Liberals jumped to Gagnier’s defence, saying he did not violate any ethical standards.
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Hours later, Gagnier announced he would step away from his post.
“I deeply regret that the campaign has been affected by these negative, personal attacks. I have always conducted my business openly and in full accordance with the rules,” said the statement.
“In the best interests of the party, I have taken this decision.”
In a statement the Liberal Party said it respects Gagnier’s decision and again defended his actions.
“Mr. Gagnier has always operated within full accordance of the rules,” the statement said. “We will continue to present our positive plan for all Canadians.”
The Conservative Party, a staunch proponent of the energy industry, said in a statement Wednesday evening that Trudeau “represents the same old Liberal Party that brought you the sponsorship scandal.”
“A party run by elite insiders who sell their influence to the highest bidder to the detriment of taxpayers,” Conservative candidate Paul Calandra said in the statement.
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With a file from the Canadian Press