Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

The Canadian Press

A major law firm whose expertise includes mining and resources permits and regulations hosted a private Liberal Party appreciation night on Aug. 29 for Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr, which the opposition is calling a "brazen example of cash-for-access" fundraising.

The event took place in a boardroom at the Edmonton offices of MacPherson Leslie & Tyerman, according to the notice advertising it on the Liberal Party website.

The Aug. 29 event was open to any donor who had paid an annual $1,500 fee to join the Liberal Laurier Club, an elite fundraising arm of the Liberal Party, which entitles contributors exclusive access to senior cabinet ministers.

Story continues below advertisement

The Liberals disclosed such events last week in a list of all their fundraising activities. The appreciation events are free for those who have already given the maximum party donations or committed to monthly donations that will reach that amount by year end.

Read more: The Trudeau Liberals trade access to power for cash. here's how to stop them

Read more: Donation stats indicate Liberal fundraisers are exclusive events

The opposition parties have hounded the Liberals in the Commons over such fundraisers, which The Globe and Mail first revealed on Oct. 19.

"In another brazen example of cash-for-access … the Minister of Natural Resources attended a high-priced fundraiser at the officers of MacPherson Leslie & Tyerman. MLT is one of the largest law firms in Canada. It specializes in the natural resources sector, the same sector that the minister regulates. This is a clear conflict of interest," Conservative MP Mark Strahl told the House of Commons.

NDP MP Alexander Boulerice called the fundraiser "totally unacceptable."

"It is access-for-cash," he said in an interview. "It's the good old Liberals giving access to ministers."

Story continues below advertisement

Less than a month after the Edmonton Laurier Club event, MacPherson Leslie & Tyerman merged with Aikins, MacAulay & Thorvaldson, Manitoba's oldest and largest law firm.

The Registry of Lobbyists in Ottawa shows lawyers at Aikins have five active registrations for lobbying the Department of Natural Resources, among other federal institutions. Mr. Carr is the MP for Winnipeg South Centre.

"This firm [Aikins] has lobbied the minister's department on several occasions, so once again, we have Liberal insiders hosting ministers at exclusive high-end fundraisers and then turning around and lobbying them," Mr. Strahl told MPs.

Government House Leader Bardish Chagger replied that the Liberals are following election financing rules, which she said are superior to those of some provinces.

"In fact, in some provinces, individuals can donate in the tens of thousands of dollars and in other jurisdictions they have no limits," she replied, reading from a prepared statement. "Some provinces accept donations from unions, trade associations and corporations. That is not the case in the federal system."

The merged law firm did not respond to a request for comment from The Globe.

Story continues below advertisement

In an e-mail, Liberal Party spokesman Braeden Caley‎ said, "‎MacPherson Leslie & Tyerman (MLT) has made their space available for a variety of non-profit and political events" and that MLT was not registered to lobby the federal government on any matter.

Federal lobbying commissioner Karen Shepherd said last week she is investigating what she called the "pay-for-access" fundraisers, which Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson has called "very unsavoury."

Asked on Monday about the Aug. 29 event, Ms. Shepherd's office quoted from the Lobbying Act: "Lobbyists engaging in political activities may need to restrict their lobbying in cases where their political activities could create a sense of obligation on the part of the public office holder, if lobbying the public officer holder would place them in a real or apparent conflict of interest."

Ms. Shepherd said last week that lobbyists who organize or sell tickets to political fundraisers "create a sense of obligation" and put a minister in a real or apparent conflict of interest.

Elections Canada figures show that, for the first time in years, the Liberal Party edged out the Conservatives in donations between July and September of this year, raising $3.2-million compared to $3.1-million for the Tories. The NDP brought in only $972,607.

The Liberal events, at which donors pay up to $1,500 to meet senior ministers in charge of major spending or policy decisions, appear to violate the Prime Minister's Open and Accountable Government rules, which state "there should be no preferential access, or appearance of preferential access" in exchange for political donations.

Story continues below advertisement

"These are not open to the general public. These are exclusive fundraisers for people who can afford it and who happen to be invited," Interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose told the House. "They are being hosted and attended by insiders and lobbyists who want something from the government."

As he has done for the past two weeks, the Prime Minister ducked questions about the ethics rules he brought in last November. Instead, he told MPs the fundraisers are part of the Liberal government's effort to "consult and engage" with Canadians.

"The fact is, Mr. Speaker, there is not preferential access to this government. This government is demonstrating an open and transparent approach," Mr. Trudeau replied. "Not just in following the rules, but being more engaged with Canadians than any previous government."

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the authors of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies