Conservative MP Paul Calandra will not face an investigation by Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson despite attending two fundraisers that may have been in conflict of interest.
The two fundraisers were hosted by people connected to bids for a Toronto radio station. At the time, Calandra was the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage. The Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is the agency that would accept bids for the station and is under the umbrella of Heritage.
Dawson said she wouldn’t investigate because the rules are murky. She says Parliament needs to bring in clearer laws about the rules concerning lobbying and political donations. The rules, as they stand, say no member “shall personally solicit funds from any person or organization if it would place the public office holder in a conflict of interest.” Dawson says her problem with clarity comes with the word ‘personally.’ She told the Globe and Mail that this seems to indicate that she must have evidence that the MP in question asked for a donation directly. With MP staff and members of the riding association, that situation seems highly unlikely.
One of the businessmen involved, Stan Antony, says he was encouraged to attend the fundraiser and to donate, but does not say Calandra was involved in this encouragement.
The Prime Minister’s Office has their own rules concerning conflict of interest and the appearance of conflict, but those rules are not under Dawson’s authority.
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