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The Globe and Mail

Calgary lawyer resigns after suspension for leaking client info

Kristine Robidoux provided information about PC candidate Arthur Kent to newspaper columnist Don Martin.

Roy MacGregor/The Globe and Mail

A prominent Calgary lawyer who tackled high-profile corporate ethics cases has resigned from Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP after the Law Society of Alberta suspended her for leaking damaging information about the "Scud Stud," a successful television correspondent turned failed political candidate.

Kristine Robidoux, a volunteer with Alberta's Progressive Conservative Party in 2008, was found by the law society on Monday to have breached client confidentiality. She was sanctioned with a four-month suspension. On Tuesday, Ms. Robidoux, a lawyer who just last year was named one of Canada's 25 most influential lawyers by a trade magazine, resigned from Gowlings.

Her resignation, which comes after defending resource firms such as Niko Resources and Griffiths Energy in high-profile international bribery cases, stems from information she leaked about Arthur Kent, a former foreign correspondent turned PC candidate in Alberta who had won fame as the "Scud Stud" for his bold coverage of the 1991 Gulf War.

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The dispute offers a sort of window into the occasionally rough-and-tumble world of Canadian politics.

Mr. Kent wanted to run as the Tory candidate in Calgary-Currie and Ms. Robidoux, a volunteer with the riding association, had supported him in his bid to win the nomination, which he subsequently did, according to an agreed statement of facts. But then she began trading e-mails with Don Martin, who was then a columnist with the CanWest newspaper chain and now hosts CTV's national politics show Power Play with Don Martin.

She first forwarded Mr. Martin an e-mail "complaining" that Mr. Kent was engaging in "unilateral decisions and not following the advice of his campaign team," according to the statement of facts.

Later, in a follow up e-mail with the title "Stud Thud," Mr. Martin wrote: "I see the death spiral for A.K. continues. Any more dirt? Column runs tomorrow. Hugs, d [Don]."

Ms. Robidoux replied: "OMG, it's all bad."

In more e-mails, she proceeded to detail information about the campaign. The next day, Mr. Martin's article appeared under the headline "Alberta's Scud Stud A 'Dud' on Campaign Trail" in the National Post and "Scud Stud Lands with a Thud" in the Calgary Herald.

Ms. Robidoux said she was "sick and embarrassed" after reading the "unbalanced and wholly negative" article, according to the statement of facts, but she added that she did not take any steps to have Mr. Martin's article changed or retracted. Ms. Robidoux, through a statement provided by her lawyer Peter Linder, said she takes full responsibility, that she apologized to Mr. Kent, and that she accepts the law society's decision. A statement from Gowlings said the firm "expects" her to return after the suspension.

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Mr. Kent is pursuing a separate case against Mr. Martin, Ms. Robidoux, CanWest and others, alleging they were "parties to a conspiracy to injure his reputation and damage his campaign for election." Mr. Kent did not respond to a request for comment. When contacted by The Globe and Mail, Mr. Martin declined to comment.

Mr. Kent has pursued this case for years and alleged that the Law Society of Alberta was stalling because of Ms. Robidoux's political connections to the Tories in Alberta, where the party has been in power for decades. A law society spokesperson declined to comment on this allegation.

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