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Trudeau’s press secretary penalized by ethics commissioner

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responds to a questions during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responds to a questions during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

One of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau‘s press secretaries has been penalized by the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner.

Read more: Investigation into Trudeau’s chief of staff dismissed by ethics commissioner

In a public notice issued on Tuesday, the commissioner’s officer said Alex Wellstead had received a penalty of $250 for “failing to disclose a material change related to assets within 30 days after the change.”

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According to the Ethics Commissioner’s website, some examples of material changes that must be reported include becoming a trustee or a beneficiary of a trust, acquiring any asset valued at $10,000 or more or opening any type of investment account, including a joint account or receiving assets by way of gift or inheritance.

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Under the Conflict of Interest Act, ministers and parliamentary secretaries must also report changes in marital status or common-law relationships.

If a change is not reported within the 30 days allotted, the commissioner may impose a penalty up to $500.

In a statement emailed to Global News, Wellstead said he has the “utmost respect” for the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner and the “important work the Commissioner does.”

“In my annual submission I informed the Office of $265.03 in material changes. As this was not disclosed within 30 days, I was ordered to pay $250,” the statement reads. “I have since paid this amount for this administrative oversight.”

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