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Olivia Chow Letter Federal Ethics Commissioner 2012-08-29

Olivia Chow Letter Federal Ethics Commissioner 2012-08-29

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Published by: kady23 on Aug 29, 2012
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12/20/2012

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 Mary DawsonConflict of Interest and Ethics CommissionerParliament of CanadaCentre Block, P.O. Box 16Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6August 29, 2012Dear Commissioner Dawson,Canadians deserve elected and appointed officials that adhere to the highest ethical standards.Appointees to entities like Federal Port Authorities are no exception to this.I am asking you to investigate Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Transport Minister Denis Lebel withregards to the creation of the Oshawa Port Authority (OPA), the appointments of three members tothe Oshawa Port Authority Board of Directors and subsequent approval of the construction of anethanol refinery at the Oshawa waterfront. The approval was given despite the objection of theOshawa City Council and Mayor and the Durham Regional Council.Based on the facts outlined further below in this letter, I am concerned that the
Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons
and the
Conflict of Interest Act 
; including the followingprovisions of the 2006 Code have been violated:
3(7) Public office holders shall not use their position
of 
office to
assist 
 private entities or persons wherethis would result in preferential treatment to any person. 22(3) Public office holders shall not accord preferential treatment in relation to any official matter torelatives or friends or to organizations in which they, relatives or friends have an interest. 22(4) A public office holder shall not use his or her position
as a
 public office holder to influence or attempt to influence
a
decision
of 
another person so
as
to further the public office holder's privateinterests or those
of 
his or her relatives or friends or to improperly further another person's privateinterests.
 
I would also like to point out the following passage from the
Federal Accountabilily Act 
that states:
"No public office holder shall, in the exercise of an official power, duty 
or
 function, give preferential treatment 
to
any person or organization based on the identity of the person
or
organization that represents the first-mentioned person
or
organization. " 
I ask you to investigate whether the following individuals were given preferential treatment byTransport Minister Lebel based on their relationship with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and theirdonations to the conservative party:
 
Gary Valcour, Chair of the Oshawa Port Authority:
Former President of the Whitby-Oshawa Conservative riding association (Finance Minister Jim
Flaherty’s riding). Part of the Oshawa Harbour Commission since 2007. Conservative donations
from 2009 to 2011.
 
Chris (Krzysztof) Kluczewski, Director of the Oshawa Port Authority:
Former member of Minister Jim Flaherty’s riding association; appointed to the Oshawa Harbour
Commission in 2010. Conservative donor to both the federal and provincial party.
 
Peter Singh, Director of the Oshawa Port Authority:
Lawyer from Ajax, donated to
Conservative MP Chris Alexander’s campaign ($1,000 April 2011)
.
 
Norm Mackie, Director of the Oshawa Port Authority:
Part of the Mackie transportation group leadership. Connected to Conservative MP Colin Carrie,he is a Conservative donor (in 2004 and 2008 to riding association level; in 2011 to Colin
Carrie’s campaign).
 
Dan O'Connor, FarmTech Energy Corp. President and CEO:
His brother, Timothy O'Connor is a former executive member of the Conservative Whitby-Oshawa riding association and former campaign director for Christine Elliott (the wife of Minister Jim Flaherty), MPP for Whitby-Oshawa during the 2011 provincial election. Strongcontributor to the Conservative party.
 
Timothy O'Connor: Former FarmTech Energy Corp. Director
Brother of Dan O’ Connor and former member of the riding association executive for Jim
Flaherty. Also former director of FarmTech. Appointed to the board of directors of FarmProducts Council of Canada (FPCC) in 2011, an entity under the control of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. The department was responsible for the Environmental Assessment of theproposed FarmTech ethanol r
efinery on the Oshawa waterfront. Tim O’Connor has given
considerable financial support to the Conservative party.It is possible that such preferential treatment resulted in FarmTech Energy Corp. receiving theapproval to build an ethanol refinery on the Oshawa waterfront against the wishes of the OshawaCity Council and the Durham Regional Council.
Background:
 
January 25, 2012: the federal government issued the Letters Patent to transform the OshawaHarbour Commission into the Oshawa Port Authority.
 
 
February 10, 2012: Minister Jim Flaherty, MP (Whitby-Oshawa), Colin Carrie, MP (Oshawa) andGary Valcour jointly announced at a press conference the creation of the Oshawa Port Authority.At the time of the media announcement, Gary Valcour was still the President of the ConservativeWhitby-Oshawa riding association. He was named the interim chair.
 
April 5, 2012: Gary Valcour and Chris (Krzysztof) Kluczewski are appointed to the board of directors of the Oshawa Port Authority.
 
June 28, 2012: Peter Singh is appointed to the Oshawa Port Authority board of directors.
 
August 9, 2012, in a vote during an in-camera meeting, the Port Authority approved FarmTechEnergy Corporation's bid to build an ethanol refinery on the Oshawa waterfront. The in-cameradecision was made without public consultation and without a completed EnvironmentalAssessment. The board did not consider alternative locations for the ethanol refinery, e.g. Brock township
also in Durham Region
which has publically stated that they would willingly host the ethanol plant.It is inexplicable that the decision was made without the input of a government of Ontario appointeeas the OPA has not been fully constituted and a Land Use Plan has not been developed pursuant tothe
Canada Marine Act.
According to the OPA and FarmTech, construction of the ethanol refinery willbegin this summer.For your additional information, the Oshawa Port Authority
Code of Conduct 
as outlined in theLetters Patent includes the following provisions:1. 2( a)
every director and officer shall discharge their official duties and arrange their private affairs insuch
a
manner 
as
to preserve and promote public confidence and trust in the integrity and impartiality of the Authority;1.2 (c) public confidence and trust in the integrity and impartiality 
of 
the Authority may be as equally compromised by the appearance
of a
conflict 
as
by the existence of an actual conflict. 2.2 (b) Specific Types of Conflicts:(iv) holds
a
material interest in
a
corporation, partnership or other entity which conducts business with,or 
acts as a
consultant 
or
advisor to, the Authority 
or a
user; 2.2 (c) Specific Types of Conflicts:(if)
is a
director 
or
officer of 
or
has
a
material interest in any person who is
a
 party to
a
material contract or proposed material contract with the Authority; and 3.3 Voting and Participation. A director or officer who is in conflict within the meaning of article
2
of this Code shall not participate in discussions or vote on any decision
of, or
 provide recommendations to,the Board on any matter related to the conflict.Notwithstanding the foregoing,
a
director or officer may participate in, vote on and providerecommendations to the Board respecting any matter related to:(b)
a
contract that relates primarily to his
or
her remuneration
as a
director, officer, employee or agent 
of 
the Authority; and 

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