Wildrose party asks RCMP to investigate tobacco-litigation contract
Justice critic Scott Cyr says ‘possible criminal breach of trust’ should be probed
The Opposition Wildrose have asked the RCMP to investigate how the Alberta government's tobacco-litigation contract was awarded.
"This is a serious matter which needs to be investigated for a possible criminal breach of trust," Wildrose justice critic Scott Cyr said Friday, following a CBC News investigation into the contract.
RCMP spokesman Gibson Glavin said that, as a general policy, the RCMP neither confirms nor denies whether an investigation is being conducted.
Last month, CBC News revealed the Alberta government's process for choosing a legal team to represent it in its $10-billion lawsuit against the tobacco industry had been manipulated. That manipulation allowed then justice minister Alison Redford the opportunity to choose a legal consortium to which she had close personal and political ties.
CBC News obtained leaked internal government documents which showed the consortium chosen by Redford - International Tobacco Recovery Lawyers (ITRL) — had initially been ranked last and effectively eliminated from the competition by an independent government review committee.
But the committee's assessment changed dramatically within a day of it being sent to Redford's executive assistant. The committee produced a second assessment which inserted ITRL back into the competition and removed its last-place ranking. Within a week Redford chose ITRL.
Redford has said she was not told by the justice ministry that ITRL had been ranked last.
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 News.
Review by retired Supreme Court justice underway
On Thursday, the Wildrose called on Premier Rachel Notley to request a police investigation.
But Notley resisted, instead deferring to an ongoing review by retired Supreme Court of Canada Justice Frank Iacobucci, which she said is the best mechanism to address the growing scandal.
Notley said she has been assured that if Iacobucci found any information with criminal implications, it would be immediately brought to her attention.
Iacobucci's review is strictly focused on the 2013 ethics commissioner's investigation into Redford, which cleared her of conflict-of-interest allegations involving the contract.
Notley said all relevant documents and information will be provided to Iacobucci. But she confirmed Thursday he will not have the authority to compel testimony from witnesses outside government.
Former senior RCMP officer Garry Clement called the ethics commissioner's investigation a "charade." He said, after reviewing all the information revealed by CBC News, that a criminal breach of trust investigation was warranted.
This is the second time the Wildrose has requested a criminal investigation of Redford's behaviour while in office, both times following a CBC News investigation. In February, she was cleared by the RCMP of allegations that she improperly used government airplanes for personal and political reasons.
A CBC News investigation had revealed Redford had flown her daughter on more than 50 government flights, including for two long weekends in Jasper.