TORONTO, Feb. 16 /CNW/ - Navigator Ltd. issues the following statement
in response to the decision of the Commissioner of Lobbying released
today that Will Stewart breached Rule 8 of the Lobbyists' Code of
Conduct by placing a Minister in an apparent conflict of interest:
Will Stewart, Navigator Ltd. and Ensight Canada have always been and
continue to be in full compliance with the Federal Accountability Act.
We are proud of our record of compliance and ethical conduct. In fact,
we are the only firm in the industry with a permanent accountability
auditor lawyer Julian Porter.
In the decision, the Commissioner acknowledges that following the
decision of the Federal Court of Appeal in an unrelated case striking
down the previous interpretation of Rule 8 of the Lobbyists' Code of
Conduct, there was "some uncertainty" for lobbyists. She further
states that it may have "been difficult for [lobbyists] to determine
the point at which their political activities may have implications for
their lobbying activities." The Commissioner nonetheless goes on to
find against Mr. Stewart.
Given this retroactive interpretation of the guideline, we find the
Commissioner's decision manifestly unfair. We are supported in that
view by an opinion from Neil Finkelstein of McCarthy Tétrault, one of
Canada's foremost constitutional lawyers, which states that:
It is absurd to find that Mr. Stewart placed Minister Raitt in a
conflict of interest when the Conflict of Interest and Ethics
Commissioner has already determined that Minister Raitt was not in fact
in a conflict of interest;
Mr. Stewart did not have fair notice that his conduct could give rise to
a breach of Rule 8 as the new guidelines that were retroactively
applied did not even exist at the [relevant] time;
The new guidelines are unconstitutional.
Mr. Finkelstein concludes that it is likely a court would set aside a
decision of the Commissioner on judicial review. Navigator Ltd. will
now review whether or not to apply for such a review.
A copy of Mr. Finkelstein's opinion is attached.
SOURCE Navigator Limited
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