Thursday, September 03, 2009

Peter MacKay or Monty Python: You decide...

OTTAWA — Peter MacKay denied Thursday that he was in a conflict of interest when he was a director of two family forestry companies while serving as a federal cabinet minister.

The defence minister and Central Nova MP acknowledged being in violation of the Conflict of Interest Act, which forbids ministers from serving on the boards of private companies, but he said that doesn’t necessarily mean he was in a conflict.

“As I have acknowledged, earlier this week I discovered I was not in compliance with section 15 of the act and took immediate steps to rectify the situation,” Mr. MacKay wrote in a letter emailed to The Chronicle Herald on Thursday. “A lack of compliance with section 15 does not, in itself, constitute a conflict of interest.”

Mr. MacKay objected to the headline on the front-page story: MacKay in Conflict of Interest.

“This headline is misleading, as it is simply not supported by the story you have published,” Mr. MacKay wrote. “Nothing in the story you have published establishes the existence of a conflict of interest.”

Shorter MacKay: It's only a conflict if it's a conflict and since it was a conflict, it wasn't really a conflict. Oh. And, "I forgot" so - no conflict. What's a tree?

Canada's ethics commissioner: That'll cost you $200.

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