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Speaker stifles conflict of interest controversy
Published Monday, December 3, 2012 12:14PM MST
Last Updated Monday, December 3, 2012 6:24PM MST
Alberta's Speaker of the Legislative Assembly says Premier Alison Redford did not mislead the house about her involvement in awarding a major tobacco lawsuit case to a consortium of law firms that included that of her ex-husband.
The opposition alleged that Redford awarded the multi-billion dollar contract to her ex-husband's firm while serving as justice minister in 2010 and that she then misled the house last week by saying she had nothing to do with it.
Part of the controversy revolves around documents that show that all three law firms, bidding on the contract, were notified of the decision while Redford was justice minister.
Documents obtained by CTV News show two memos which infer that Redford chose her ex-husband's firm.
In one she said "the best choice for Alberta will be the International Tobacco Recovery Lawyers" and in another memo, another government employee says "Minister Redford selected the International Tobacco Recovery Lawyers".
Redford admitted that she wrote a memo as justice minister suggesting her ex's law firm be chosen for the high-profile suit but she insists she didn't make the final decision.
On Monday, the Wildrose called on Ethics Commissioner Neil Wilkinson to investigate the allegations and conduct a public inquiry.
“We believe this issue warrants a full public inquiry and we are calling on the Ethics Commissioner to use the powers he has to conduct one,” said Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith. “The integrity of our highest political office is at stake and Albertans are demanding to know the truth.”
Speaker Gene Zwozdesky said on Monday afternoon that he believed the premier’s version of events and that she did not mislead the legislative assembly saying, “There’s no misleading. There's no intent to mislead. So there's no mens rea, there’s no actual misleading.”