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Ethics watchdog sees potential conflict in MacKay's vacation venue Add to ...

The Ethics Commissioner says Peter MacKay could be in contravention of the conflict of interest code after spending part of his vacation at a fishing camp owned by the chairman of a Crown corporation.

Mary Dawson told an all-party Commons committee Thursday morning there "could be some contraventions” after she was directly asked by Newfoundland and Labrador Liberal MP Scott Andrews about the Defence Minister’s vacation venue.

Mr. Andrews later told The Globe and Mail the Liberals are considering launching a formal complaint to the watchdog regarding the Defence Minister’s July, 2010, stay at the remote Gander River fishing camp owned by Rob Crosbie, chairman of Marine Atlantic.

Mr. MacKay had refused to reveal who owned the camp; that information later leaked out.

The Defence Minister has been under fire for his frequent use of government aircraft to ferry him from place to place. The fishing vacation became controversial after it was revealed that a Cormorant helicopter had flown to the camp to pick him up.

Mr. MacKay countered that cut his vacation short and took the helicopter to participate in a search-and-rescue demonstration.

The Globe, meanwhile, has revealed that Mr. MacKay is the most frequent flier of government aircraft. He has racked up $2.9-million in flights on the Challenger jets over the past four years – well beyond the use of his colleagues. Cabinet ministers are to fly commercial whenever they can.

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