In a letter to the CRTC dated March 30, 2012, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty showed not only his support for granting a license to a radio station in his riding, but also his lack of understanding of federal conflict of interest laws and guidelines.
This is not the first time Flaherty has been caught reinterpreting conflict of interest rules to serve his own purposes.
Back in 2008, Mr. Flaherty proudly broke the government's sole contracting rules:
“I do not regret hiring Mr MacPhie. I do regret that administrative functions were not followed."
– Jim Flaherty, Canadian Press, May 14, 2008
If only Flaherty had waited until June before trying to intervene with the CRTC, he would have received a helpful reminder of conflict of interest guidelines from the commissioner. On July 18, 2012, the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson, released her report on Tony Clement.
Dawson reminded ministers:
“When representing constituents, they should not use their positions as ministers to provide greater assistance to their constituents than to other Canadians in relation to their own department or larger portfolio.”
- Mary Dawson, Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, July 19, 2013
It is clear that Jim Flaherty and the Harper Conservatives are putting their own political interests ahead of respecting conflict of interest rules.
We think Canadians deserve better.