Thursday, February 16, 2012


"No former reporting public office holder 
shall make representations whether for 
remuneration or not, for or on behalf of 
any other person or entity to any department, 
 organization, board, commission or tribunal
 with which he or she had direct and
 significant official dealings during 
the period of one year immediately before
 his or her last day in office."

 Section 35 (2)
Conflict Of Interest Act

Speaking of the need for the change at the helm of The Fisheries Broadcast, host John Furlong played the devil's advocate with Provincial Liberal Fisheries Critic Jim Bennett regarding an ethics complaint against former fisheries ambassador, Loyola Sullivan.

The Official Opposition has suggested that the former Canadian Ambassador may have broken the law by accepting his current position as the vice-president of his families company, Ocean Choice International.

Sullivan served as Progressive Conservative Leader after he knifed Lyn Verge following the 1996 provincial election.  When the party took over the reigns of power in 2003, he became the Minister of Finance and President of the Treasury Board, until his sudden departure in 2006. He and the premier allegedly had a different point of view on the equalization issue. 

A month later, Harper's lap dog was appointed as the federal Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Fisheries and Oceans as Ambassador for Fisheries Conservation by the Government of Canada. He is not the only member of the clan to receive  a federal appointment. His brother, who has a dubious reputation in the provincial fisheries from his days as a processor, Conrad Sullivan, was appointed to the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board.

Sullivan held the ambassadorship  until he resigned to run as a "star" Conservative Candidate in St. John's South - Mt. Pearl in the May, 02, 2011 federal election. Sullivan was trounced, placing third with 10,000 less votes than NDPm MP Ryan Cleary.

In June he was reunited with brothers, Martin and Blaine, when he was appointed OCI's vice-president responsible for resource management and corporate sustainability.   The timing of his reunion with the family business has raised a few eyebrows.

Obviously, the Sullivans carry some weight in the Conservative Party and Progressive Conservative Parties. Enough that Loyola feels the law does not apply to him. 

Bennett says that the federal Conflict of Interest Act requires a ‘cooling off’ period for ministers and other high-ranking government officials before they can become engaged in any lobbying efforts. Sullivan says Bennett is getting on with foolishness. 

This afternoon on The Broadcast, John Furlong defended Sullivan, suggesting that  even if Sullivan was in a conflict, it was a "victimless crime" and tried to gloss over Bennett's concerns. Bennett was quick to correct Furlong, scoring a bulls-eye on the rationale for Conflict of Interest Laws.

Bennett, has asked the Federal Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, Mary Dawson, to review the activities of Canada’s former Fisheries Ambassador. Her office has confirmed that Sullivan would fall under the same obligations as other senior appointments as defined by the conflict of interest act.

This will be an interesting story to follow.


Anonymous said...

The laws of the land do not apply to Conservatives. They can do what ever they want.

Wm. Murphy said...

Let's just say that Sullivan is in conflict of what!
Will this decision provide stability and resolution to the fishery as it it relates to OCI?

Bennett is posturing and chasing something that is strictly based on principle and not substance. Once agian you have people chasing after something that will do squat in the advancement and restructuring of the industry. Great pomp but no substance.

As for Bennett scoring a "bullseye"...please tell me how this will benefit the average fiherman and plant worker?


Peter L. Whittle said...

Murphy, I agree with you, this issue will not do anything at all to resolve the issues in the fishery in this province, or change things with they way OCI operates.

That is not the issue here. The issue, as I see it is that there are laws on the books related to senior public appointments and conflicts. They are supposed to apply to everyone equally.

You get a blow hard like Sullivan chastising and being arrogant and you blow back. Are you suggesting that Sullican should be exempt from the ethic and conflict of interest legislation?

The bulls eye that I refer to was the fact that Bennett was articulate in countering the suggestion that this type of thing is a victimless and not a big deal. Accountability is a big deal.
Decision-makers cannot be perceived as acting with integrity if he or she derives a personal benefit, real or perceived. That is why the rules are in place for everyone.

The laws and enforcement of parking a car illegally are stronger than most government accountability!

Wm. Murphy said...

So, the only "bullseye" Bennett will score is to show Sullivan that he must be accountable.

Go Jim go....continue to fiddle while the industry burns. I want our politicians to spend time on REAL substatntive matters that will invoke change. Make no wonder people think most politicians are blowhards!

The sad part about this story is that Sullivan will not be found in conflict of interest. From my reading of the clause(s) in question, I feel confident that this will be the case.....which leads to then question that Bennett realizes this as well. As a lawyer he knows that this will be the ruling of the commissioner and once again Bennett is going through the motions to cast doubt to an unsuspecting constituency. He knows the difference. To say that he expects the ruling to find in favour of conflict is pure nonsense.

If he is looking for press why doesn't he offer up some good solutions to help with the industry. Blowhard!!

Peter L. Whittle said...

Actually Murph, I did not think the bullseye was in relation Sullivan, but in the retort to Furlong.

It is not a matter of being a blow hard. OCI are corporate raiders, they have tried to use their considerable political connections to put it to harvesters, crew, plant workers and communities. The fact that they feel they are above the rules is certainly worth commenting on.

Time will tell on the ruling, although if Democracy Watch is right, chances are that a loophole will be found.

Anonymous said...

If Sullivan submitted the job description and was given the green light than end of story....however if that is the case why is Mary Dawson looking into it. Either her office gave Sullivan the go,or they did not.

Wm. Murphy said...

To close this matter Peter... just have a read of the Lib release on the issue. It is complete and utter nonsense. It is also complete nonsense to tie the issue to what OCI is doing or not doing. It is a red herring whether Sullivan is in conflict as it relates to the agenda of OCI.
The fact that OCI have curried corporate favour or that they "put it" to people in the industry has nothing to do with whether Sullivan was or is in conflict of interest as it relates to his tenure as Fish ambassador.
We are talking about conflict of interest. Stay on message Peter and stop going down the path that Bennett is trotting down.
This spin and deflection is what pisses me off to knwow end