Review of ethics investigation into tobacco-litigation contract delayed
Former Supreme Court of Canada justice takes extra month
The review of a previous ethics commissioner's investigation into how the contract to litigate Alberta's $10-billion tobacco lawsuit was awarded under former premier Alison Redford will be delayed a month.
Alberta Justice has confirmed the report, based on the review by former Supreme Court of Canada justice Frank Iacobucci, will not be completed until the end of March. It was to be completed by Feb. 29. Premier Rachel Notley has promised it will be publicly released.
"At Mr. Iacobucci's request, additional time has been approved for the completion of the review," said Veronica Jubinville, press secretary to Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley. "The additional time will be used to ensure a complete and thorough review that includes interviews with all relevant parties."
Jubinville said the time extension will not add any cost to Iacobucci's $160,000 contract.
Ganley announced the review by Iacobucci in November after CBC News obtained leaked internal Alberta Justice documents that showed the independent selection process for the potentially lucrative contract had been manipulated. That allowed then justice minister Alison Redford the opportunity to choose a legal consortium to which she had close personal and political ties.
The CBC News investigation also revealed an ethics investigation into conflict-of-interest allegations against Redford may not have been provided all the relevant documents, including some leaked to CBC.
Ganley announced Iacobucci would conduct a review, but stressed it would be focused on the ethics investigation into Redford and not how the tobacco-litigation contract was awarded.
The Opposition Wildrose had repeatedly called on the government to request a criminal investigation by the RCMP. But Premier Rachel Notley said Iacobucci would inform the government if his review uncovered any evidence that required criminal investigation.
Notley said all relevant documents and information would be provided to Iacobucci but she confirmed he will not have the authority to compel testimony from witnesses outside the government.
The Wildrose subsequently made a formal request to the RCMP for a criminal investigation. The RCMP will not say if it is investigating.