October 21, 2018

Winnipeg
2° C, Sunny

Full Forecast

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Liberals accuse PCs of ignoring conflict-of-interest rules

Liberal leader Dougald Lamont speaks to the media about conflicts of interest at the Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg on Wednesday.

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Liberal leader Dougald Lamont speaks to the media about conflicts of interest at the Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg on Wednesday.

Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont says the PC government ignored conflict-of-interest rules by allowing three cabinet ministers who own rental properties to vote on a bill that affects landlords.

During question period Wednesday, Lamont raised the fact that Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen, Families Minister Heather Stefanson and Municipal Relations Minister Jeff Wharton – who have declared they own rental properties — voted in favour of Bill 12. The Red Tape Reduction and Government Services Act sets a 60-day limit on when tenants can appeal rent increases.

Lamont believes the ministers should have recused themselves from voting on the legislation.

Get the full story.
No credit card required. Cancel anytime.

Join free for 60 days

After that, pay as little as $0.99 per month for the best local news coverage in Manitoba.

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Join free for 60 days

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Subscribers Log in below to continue reading,
not a subscriber? Create an account to start a 60 day free trial.

Log in Create your account

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Mon to Sat Delivery

Pay

$34.36

per month

  • Includes all benefits of All Access Digital
  • 6-day delivery of our award-winning newspaper
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont says the PC government ignored conflict-of-interest rules by allowing three cabinet ministers who own rental properties to vote on a bill that affects landlords.

PC party landlords

Click to Expand
<strong>Kelvin Goertzen</strong>

Kelvin Goertzen

<strong>Heather Stefanson</strong>

Heather Stefanson

<strong>Jeff Wharton</strong>

Jeff Wharton

During question period Wednesday, Lamont raised the fact that Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen, Families Minister Heather Stefanson and Municipal Relations Minister Jeff Wharton – who have declared they own rental properties — voted in favour of Bill 12. The Red Tape Reduction and Government Services Act sets a 60-day limit on when tenants can appeal rent increases.

Lamont believes the ministers should have recused themselves from voting on the legislation.

"So one of the things is (if) we actually want to improve government and raise the bar a little, we have to consider not just what’s a conflict of interest, but what’s a perception of a conflict of interest," he said.

"So you have a situation where ministers have declared that they owned apartment buildings on their conflict of interest forms… you have to ask what’s the point of even having conflict of interest forms if it makes absolutely no difference whether people can vote to give themselves benefits or not?"

The government responded in an emailed statement: "Mr. Lamont should familiarize himself with the Conflict of Interest Act before engaging in NDP-style mudslinging. If he has a specific complaint, he should file it with the conflict of interest commissioner," the government said.

"We will continue the good work we’ve started to increase accountability and transparency throughout government."

Conflict of interest commissioner Jeffrey Schnoor said he couldn’t publicly comment on the allegation made by the Liberals due to the non-partisan nature of his role. The commissioner is appointed by an all-party committee.

"I provide my advice directly to the 57 members and I can’t make a public comment," Schnoor said.

In April, Schnoor made 84 recommendations to improve Manitoba's conflict of interest legislation, which is "the oldest and arguably the weakest conflict of interest legislation in Canada," he said at the time.

The recommendations include expanding the definition of a conflict of interest beyond someone's financial interests to include all private interests.

Schnoor suggested the province should give the commissioner the power to investigate alleged breaches of conflict rules and to recommend penalties up to, and including, the loss of a member's seat. Manitoba is the only jurisdiction in the country where the conflict of interest commissioner doesn’t have such powers.

The government has yet to implement the recommendations.

jessica.botelho@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @_jessbu

Jessica Botelho-Urbanski
Legislature reporter

Jessica Botelho-Urbanski covers the Manitoba Legislature for the Winnipeg Free Press.

Read full biography

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective January 2015.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us