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Sask. conflict of interest commissioner denies NDP’s request to re-examine premier’s work with WE

Saskatchewan's conflict of interest commissioner has denied the NDP's request to re-examine Premier Scott Moe's work with the WE organization.
Saskatchewan's conflict of interest commissioner has denied the NDP's request to re-examine Premier Scott Moe's work with the WE organization. Mark Taylor / The Canadian Press

Saskatchewan’s conflict of interest commissioner is denying the NDP’s request to re-examine Premier Scott Moe’s work the WE Foundation.

NDP education critic Carla Beck asked Maurice Herauf, Q.C. to review a previous decision made by his predecessor Ronald Barclay, who in November gave Moe the OK to go to Kenya with his wife to work with WE, saying it would not be a breach of the Member’s Conflict of Interest Act.

Read more: Saskatchewan NDP calls on Moe to disclose correspondence before trip with WE Charity founder

Moe and his family have been involved in supporting the WE Foundation for a number of years and on the trip met with WE founder Craig Kielburger.

Beck is questioning the timeline that preceded a $260,000 partnership between the organization and the Ministry of Education.

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She wanted to clear up whether or not Moe had told Barclay about the potential of a future contract between the province and WE.

“Simply put, I have not been convinced that your request for a review is warranted,” Herauf responded to Beck through a letter sent to her on Tuesday.

Read more: Trudeau government has announced at least $5.5M in funding to WE Charity since 2015

“The concept of a conflict of interest rests on the concept of private interest. Private interests have been interpreted to be those a financial nature. To reiterate, there is no new facts that would have any bearing on the conclusion reached in Mr. Barclay’s opinion of November 20, 2019.

“In the interests of finality, your request for a review is denied.”

Moe addressed Beck’s questioning on July 14.

“I would have been aware of it maybe late last summer, early last fall, of the WE well-being program in itself. I have discussed it at least once with the minister… but I have not been involved in any of the procurement,” Moe said.

“This is an area of interest to us, not because WE is offering it, but the area of the opportunity to potentially add to the tools in our tool chest, if you will, in providing services and supports for those that may be struggling with mental health or have mental health challenges, in particular in our K-12 (school) system.”

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Despite the decision, Beck still has her doubts regarding the situation.

“We continue to have questions about how the decision was made to give this contract to an out of Saskatchewan provider, when there are many people and providers in the province who could do the same work,” Beck said Tuesday.

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