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Box 16 Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6 August 29, 2012 Dear 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 with regards to the creation of the Oshawa Port Authority (OPA), the appointments of three members to the Oshawa Port Authority Board of Directors and subsequent approval of the construction of an ethanol refinery at the Oshawa waterfront. The approval was given despite the objection of the Oshawa 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 following provisions 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 where this would result in preferential treatment to any person. 22(3) Public office holders shall not accord preferential treatment in relation to any official matter to relatives 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 private interests or those of his or her relatives or friends or to improperly further another person's private interests.
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 by Transport Minister Lebel based on their relationship with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and their donations 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 WhitbyOshawa riding association and former campaign director for Christine Elliott (the wife of Minister Jim Flaherty), MPP for Whitby-Oshawa during the 2011 provincial election. Strong contributor 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 Farm Products Council of Canada (FPCC) in 2011, an entity under the control of Agriculture and AgriFood Canada. The department was responsible for the Environmental Assessment of the proposed FarmTech ethanol refinery 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 the approval to build an ethanol refinery on the Oshawa waterfront against the wishes of the Oshawa City Council and the Durham Regional Council. Background: • January 25, 2012: the federal government issued the Letters Patent to transform the Oshawa Harbour Commission into the Oshawa Port Authority.
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February 10, 2012: Minister Jim Flaherty, MP (Whitby-Oshawa), Colin Carrie, MP (Oshawa) and Gary 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 Conservative Whitby-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 FarmTech Energy Corporation's bid to build an ethanol refinery on the Oshawa waterfront. The in-camera decision was made without public consultation and without a completed Environmental Assessment. 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 appointee as the OPA has not been fully constituted and a Land Use Plan has not been developed pursuant to the Canada Marine Act. According to the OPA and FarmTech, construction of the ethanol refinery will begin this summer. For your additional information, the Oshawa Port Authority Code of Conduct as outlined in the Letters Patent includes the following provisions: 1. 2( a) every director and officer shall discharge their official duties and arrange their private affairs in such 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 provide recommendations 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
As a member of the House Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and in my role as the Official Opposition Transport and Infrastructure Critic I regard it as an essential task to vet federal appointments that have been reported to the committee. However, repeated attempts to have federal appointees to Oshawa Port Authority appear in front of the Standing Committee where thwarted by the Conservative majority and I was thus unable to properly vet the appointees. In the light of the current evidence, an investigation with regards to the Oshawa Port Authority is warranted. I am looking forward to your response. Yours,
Olivia Chow MP, Trinity-Spadina Official Opposition Transport and Infrastructure Critic cc. Mayor of Oshawa John Henry Minister of Transport Denis Lebel Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty
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