Manitoba government promises to introduce new conflict of interest legislation by fall

The Progressive Conservative government will introduce its own conflict of interest legislation in fall 2018. Manitoba has the oldest and perhaps the weakest rules for disclosure for politicians in Canada, the conflict of interest commissioner says.

PCs announce overhaul following report calling Manitoba's current legislation weakest in Canada

Progressive Conservative House leader Cliff Cullen says conflict of interest legislation will be tabled after throne speech in November. (CBC)

Manitoba politicians can expect new conflict of interest rules to be introduced in the fall.

In a statement, Progressive Conservative House leader Cliff Cullen acknowledged a recent report by the province's conflict of interest commissioner, who called Manitoba's current legislation perhaps the "weakest in the country."

"We plan to establish an all-party committee to provide input on this matter as it impacts all MLAs, with legislation to follow after the next speech from the throne. This all-party task force will lead revised legislation," Cullen wrote.

The Tories defeated a private members bill on Thursday authored by Independent Assiniboia MLA Steven Fletcher.

Fletcher was kicked out of the PC caucus in 2017 after taking a series of public stands against government plans.

The rogue MLA's bill would have forced members of Manitoba's legislature to disclose more of their financial information, included immediate family members in the requirements and broadened the boundaries of their disclosure to holdings across Canada.

Cullen said his government is committed to catching up to other provinces and will use Conflict of Interest Commissioner Jeffrey Schnoor's report in writing the new legislation.

"We need to do better and we will. We are reviewing the report and other sources of information on the subject, such as best practices in other jurisdictions," Cullen wrote.

Premier Brian Pallister asked his cabinet last year to voluntarily disclose any conflicts they may have with the coming legalization of marijuana.

Those disclosures were made by cabinet ministers, in writing, on current conflict of interest forms filed with the clerk's office of the Manitoba Legislature.