Integrity watchdog dismisses fundraising complaint against Ontario Liberal ministers

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TORONTO – Ontario’s integrity commissioner says two Liberal cabinet ministers may have benefited politically by attending a fundraiser with a bank involved with the privatization of Hydro One, but they didn’t contravene the Members’ Integrity Act.

However, commissioner J. David Wake says that the legislature should consider clarifying the act to include the apparent conflicts of interest, not just actual ones.

NDP deputy leader Jagmeet Singh lodged a complaint with the commissioner following a media report that one of the banks that acted as an underwriter for the Hydro One IPO promoted a $7,500-per-person fundraiser for Finance Minister Charles Sousa and then-energy minister Bob Chiarelli.

Wake has dismissed the complaint, saying the ministers didn’t breach the act because they didn’t receive any personal benefits from their attendance even though they may have received political benefits.

He says that the language in the legislation doesn’t give him the authority to find against members for apparent conflicts of interest, but the legislature should review the act and consider whether they should also be included.

A spokeswoman for Premier Kathleen Wynne says she looks forward to reviewing Wake’s recommendations.

© 2016 The Canadian Press

Global News Aug 9th 2016

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