Ethics Commissioner warns Liberal ministers not to 'solicit funds' as ministers, Conservatives request probe into Alghabra

The office of the federal ethics commissioners released a tweet on Thursday warning Liberal Ministers not to solicit funds from stakeholders. Doing so amounts to a Conflict of Interest.

Alex Anas Ahmed Calgary AB

The office of the federal ethics commissioners released a tweet on Thursday warning Liberal Ministers not to solicit funds from stakeholders. Doing so amounts to a Conflict of Interest.

"Ministers, [Conflict of Interest Act l] rules still apply to you during the election campaign," tweeted the commissioner's office. "You can’t personally solicit funds if it puts you in a [Conflict of Interest]."

According to Section 16 of the Conflict of Interest Act, ministers "are prohibited from personally soliciting funds from any person or organization if doing so would place you in a conflict of interest."

The website of the ethics commissioner writes, "You are in a conflict of interest when you exercise an official power, duty or function that provides an opportunity to further your private interests of those of your relatives or friends or to improperly further another person's private interests."

While the tweet doesn't specify who the tweet is regarding, a report by True North found the Conservatives had requested an investigation into Transportation Minister Omar Alghabra.

In promotional material for a Liberal campaign fundraiser, Alghabra's ministerial title was displayed in what appeared to be a conflict of interest in a since-deleted tweet by Brampton Centre candidate Shafqat Ali.

On August 27, Ali said he would hold a campaign fundraiser at the Havelly Grill Restaurant and Banquet Hall on Wednesday, mentioning Alghabra as a guest of honour.

Tickets cost $500 and were eligible for a $300 tax credit.

The Conflict of Interest Act prevents public office holders from giving preferential treatment to any person or organization who constitutes a ministerial stakeholder.

"It might be an election, but Omar Alghabra is still selling access to Justin Trudeau’s government," said the Conservatives. "Conservatives will be asking the Ethics Commissioner to initiate an investigation."

Ali and Alghabra were not available for comment at the time of writing.

The ethics commissioner has not publicly stated whether he intends to launch a probe into the matter or not.

This comes amid another call for an ethics probe by the Conservatives, who requested an investigation into a suspected conflict of interest between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation. Trudeau remains a member of one of the organization’s governing bodies while prime minister.

In 2015 and 2016, while Trudeau was prime minister, total donations, including those from foreign entities, skyrocketed, up from $172,000 in 2014 to $634,000 in 2014 and $731,000 in 2016. Foreign donations rose from $53,000 to $428,000 to $535,000, per the National Post.

In November 2016, the head of the China Cultural Industry Organization in Canada and Senior CCP member, Zhang Bin, donated $200,000 to the Trudeau Foundation, and another $50,000 to fund a statue of Pierre Trudeau.

Trudeau denied all accusations of impropriety and stated that it was an effort to attract Chinese investment in Canada.


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