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Ethics commissioner won't probe Guergis' possible conflict of interest Add to ...

Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson is refusing for a second time to investigate allegations involving former cabinet minister Helena Guergis.

Ms. Dawson will not investigate whether Ms. Guergis was in breach of Canada's conflict of interest laws when she wrote a letter to a municipal official in support of a company, Wright Tech Inc., that may have had links to her husband, Rahim Jaffer.

However, the Commissioner is giving Ms. Guergis the opportunity to respond to allegations that her actions breached a code of conduct for MPs.

NDP MP Libby Davies fired off a letter last Friday asking Ms. Dawson to investigate whether Ms. Guergis' letter breached the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons or the Conflict of Interest Act, which applies to cabinet ministers.

Ms. Dawson took just a few hours to reject an investigation, writing a response the very same day, April 16.

The Commissioner informed Ms. Davies that allegations related to the code for MPs requires her that she forward the issue to the accused MP and provide them with 30 days to respond.

"I have forwarded your request to Ms. Guergis and directed her to respond to your concerns under the Code," she writes, according to a copy of the letter obtained by the Globe and Mail.

"You have also requested that I conduct an examination under the Conflict of Interest Act in respect of the same allegations. With respect to the Act, your request does not meet the requirements set out in section 44 for requesting an examination. In particular, you have not provided any information indicating that Ms. Guergis was acting in her capacity as a Minister of State. Therefore I cannot pursue your request under the Act at this time, but you may, of course, send me any additional information in this regard."

Ms. Guergis issued a statement last week indicating that she wrote the letter in her capacity as an MP representing a constituent after assuring herself that her husband "had absolutely no business links or financial interest" in the company.

This is the second time Ms. Dawson has declined to investigate matters involving Ms. Guergis.

The Commissioner's Office previously declined to investigate after receiving information from the Prime Minister's Office at the time Ms. Guergis' resignation was announced.







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