NDP MLA Ravi Kahlon cleared by conflict commissioner over ridesharing accusations

NDP MLA Ravi Kahlon cleared of wrongdoing in ride-hailing controversy
WATCH: NDP MLA Ravi Kahlon has been vindicated after the acting Conflict of Interest Commissioner cleared him of wrongdoing in the controversy over ride-hailing in this province. Keith Baldrey has more.

NDP MLA Ravi Kahlon has been cleared of all wrongdoing in connection with allegations that he was in a conflict of interest by being a member of the all-party ridesharing committee while his father owns a Bluebird cab in Victoria.

Acting Conflict of Interest Commissioner Lynn Smith found Kahlon “was neither in a conflict of interest nor in an apparent conflict of interest” in relation to his committee work. Smith also praised Kahlon for “withdrawing from the committee’s work while the facts were investigated.”

“Mr. Kahlon’s finances are completely separate from those of his father. He has no financial interest in his father’s taxi business or the taxi industry,” the ruling reads.

READ MORE: NDP MLA Ravi Kahlon accused of conflict of interest for role on ridesharing committee

The BC Liberals raised the issue of the alleged conflict during the first Question Period of the legislative session back in February.

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Kahlon’s father, Navroop Singh Kahlon, is listed on a provincial registry of taxi owners. Kahlon’s father was on the verge of retirement at the time of the allegations.

He has now retired. He spends half his time in India.

Kahlon was a member of the all-party committee tasked with looking at four specific parts of the ridesharing legislation passed by the government and suggesting new regulations. The committee has since put its recommendations to Transportation Minister Claire Trevena.

WATCH (Aired on February 13, 2019): Allegations of conflict of interest against NDP MLA

Allegations of conflict of interest against NDP MLA
Allegations of conflict of interest against NDP MLA

“I work hard to represent my constituents with integrity, and that’s why I took the initiative to write to the commissioner. I am pleased that the commissioner has rejected this baseless BC Liberal attack on my family,” Kahlon said on Thursday.

“It’s disappointing to see [Liberal leader] Andrew Wilkinson spend his time making stuff up instead of trying to make life better for British Columbians.”

Smith concluded the committee had a limited role and the “limited scope of Kahlon’s official duty” meant the MLA had a limited opportunity to further his own or his father’s interests.

READ MORE: B.C. should scrap plans to require Class 4 licence for ridesharing, committee recommends

“Committees do not have the authority to make or alter legislation or cause the government to take any specific action,” the ruling read.

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“Neither is the government required to respond to committee reports or accept their recommendations.”

The province has not yet finalized the regulations associated with the committee’s recommendations.

The government rejected one of the committee’s recommendations, allowing drivers to operate ridesharing vehicles with the standard Class 5 driver’s licence. The province opted to require drivers to obtain a commercial class 4 licence.