Ethics commissioner says former Prince George-Peace River Conservative MP Jay Hill used his former position to assist his spouse and her employer regarding a forthcoming energy deal. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)
Statement by Jay Hill
In late May, 2011, I learned of a pending joint venture agreement between a Canadian natural gas company and a foreign, state-owned energy company. This transaction represented approximately $1B in natural gas reserves located in my former constituency in northern BC and was to be announced to the public within days.
Based on my 17 years as a Member of Parliament, the majority of which I served as party Whip or House Leader, I made the decision to contact three of my former colleagues to give them a heads-up of the pending announcement. This is a common practice in government, as Ministers and senior staff are often given advance notice of pending deals or business negotiations.
At the time I placed calls to the federal Ministers, my wife was employed by a public and government relations firm engaged by the Canadian company participating in the joint venture. That said, at no time did I or my spouse receive any credit, benefit or financial remuneration, personally or professionally, for making these calls.
In politics, perception is reality, and in this case, the federal Conflict of Interest & Ethics Commissioner, Mary Dawson and her colleagues have determined I was in contravention of the Act by taking "improper advantage of my previous public office."
I strongly dispute this conclusion, and the process and methods she undertook to arrive at her decision.
In conclusion, I would like to apologize to the Prime Minister and my former colleagues for any inconvenience this situation may have caused.
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