EDMONTON, AB: News that British Columbia’s Conflict of Interest Commissioner has determined another investigation is warranted surrounding Tobaccogate is a positive step that should be conducted simultaneously with an RCMP investigation, the Wildrose Official Opposition said.
Key information during the original investigation was obscured or not obtained in 2013, as was revealed in former Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci’s review of the matter in Spring 2016. A full picture of what exactly transpired in 2013 surrounding potentially the largest contract ever awarded by the Government of Alberta is not clear. Media reports leave the impression that the Minister awarded the contract to friends when senior civil servants had recommended against this. It appears that Albertans were intentionally left in the dark on the matter by the previous government.
A letter written by Wildrose Justice Shadow Minister Scott Cyr to the RCMP on this matter in December 2015 has resulted in the Criminal Operations Branch (CROPS) of the RCMP making a formal assessment of whether a criminal investigation should commence into the matter.
“Wildrose urges that potential criminality surrounding Tobaccogate can and should be investigated given the potential serious abuse of taxpayer dollars and the possibility of a breach of public trust in the matter,” Cyr said. “It makes good sense for a criminal investigation and a re-examination of the matter by BC Commissioner Fraser to be completed simultaneously.”
“Sunshine is the best disinfectant, and it is my sincere hope that a re-investigation by Commissioner Fraser along with an RCMP investigation into potential criminality in the Tobaccogate matter will give Albertans the transparency they deserve from their government,” Wildrose Shadow Ethics and Accountability Minister Jason Nixon said. “While recognizing that the presumption of innocence applies, Wildrose will continue to urge that all relevant details surrounding Tobaccogate be brought to light and that Albertans be assured that nothing illegal or untoward is being covered up.”