Inside Politics

NigelWrightWatch: Well, it's official ...

Prime Ministerial Chief of Staff in waiting Nigel S. Wright, currently styled as senior advisor, has been added to the public registry of reporting public office holders covered by the Conflict of Interest Act

So far, the only disclosure filing available for perusal is the summary of agreed compliance measures related to the conflict of interest screen -- or, as he preferred to describe it during last month's committee appearance, his Ethical Wall -- which reads as follows: 

I am on an unpaid leave of absence from Onex Corporation. 

In order to prevent a conflict of interest situation from arising between my official duties and my private interests in Onex Corporation, its operating businesses, subsidiaries and affiliates (hereinafter referred to as the Onex Group), the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner has determined that a conflict of interest screen is necessary to assist with my obligation to abstain from any participation in any matters or issues, other than those of general application, relating to the Onex Group including Onex Partners I, II and III investments, Onex Credit Partners, ONCAP I and II, Onex Real Estate Partners, Celestica Inc., Sitel Worldwide, and Tompkins plc. A complete list of the Onex Group as of November 1, 2010 is attached. 

Other areas or matters I will need to abstain from and which are made part of the subject matter of the conflict of interest screen are the taxation of the Canadian private equity industry and its participants, including the tax treatment of carried interest, the tax deductibility of cross-border interest expenses with corporate groups, as well as any other matters or issues that the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner may, from time to time, advise should be subject to the conflict of interest screen. 

Accordingly, a conflict of interest screen has been established and will be administered by the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister to ensure that I will abstain from any participation in any discussions or decision-making processes and any communication with government officials in relation to any matter or issue forming part of the subject matter of the conflict of interest screen. 

I have undertaken to inform the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner of all matters of which I become aware that relate to or should form part of the subject matter of the conflict of interest screen, in order to prevent a conflict of interest. 

In the event that any issue or matter subject to the conflict of interest screen is not caught by that screen and comes before me, I undertake to recuse myself from that issue or matter as required by Section 21 of the Conflict of Interest Act and inform the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner. 

Onex Corporation has agreed to provide, in confidence to the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, certain information related to its activities that would assist the Commissioner in monitoring my obligations under the Conflict of Interest Act. 

 The Prime Minister of Canada, the Prime Minister's Office, the Clerk of the Privy Council and Deputy Secretaries at the Privy Council Office, Ministers' Chiefs
of Staff, Ministers' Offices and Ministers of State's Offices have been notified accordingly.

Under the CoIA, Wright has 60 days from the date of his appointment -- in his case, November 8, 2010 -- to file a confidential report with the ethics commissioner listing all assets and liabilities, all income received during the previous twelve months, as well as all sorts of other background information. He then has another 60 days -- so 120 days in total from his appointment -- to put together a public declaration of all assets that are neither controlled nor exempt, any liabilities estimated at more than $10,000 as well as any outside position that he still holds. 

All of which makes it -- well, about as official as it gets in the capital. Welcome to Ottawa, sir. You're a real Hill denizen now. 

Tags: blackberry jungle, making plans, nigelwrightwatch, punctuality is always ppreciated

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