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Vic Toews is seen in Ottawa on March 21, 2013.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

Canada's former public safety minister has had his wrist slapped by the federal ethics commissioner for violating conflict of interest rules.

Vic Toews was a Conservative MP from Manitoba and senior minister in Stephen Harper's government between 2006 and 2013. He is now a judge on the Court of Queen's Bench in Manitoba.

Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson says Toews violated the Conflict of Interest Act twice in the months after his departure by working for two Manitoba First Nations with whom he had dealt with as a minister.

In one instance, Toews provided strategic legal advice to Peguis First Nation and even helped draft a settlement proposal related to the Kapyong Barracks dispute in Winnipeg.

While in office, Toews was the minister who signed off on the sale of the former military barracks, and was later named as a defendant in a lawsuit from First Nations, including Peguis, about the sale.

Dawson said Toews' actions meant he "switched sides" just two months after he left office, something that is not allowed under the Conflict of Interest Act.

In a separate instance, he provided work for the Norway House Cree Nation, an entity with which he had met with in his final year in office. That was also a violation of the law, said Dawson.

Dawson has no authority to issue any penalties for the violations.

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