Saskatchewan

Brad Wall's $40K party stipend 'completely ethical', conflict officer says

Provincial conflict of interest commissioner Ron Barclay says he doesn't have a problem with Premier Brad Wall's longstanding practice of receiving a $40,000 annual payment from the Saskatchewan Party.

Ron Barclay says scrutinizing donations to Sask. Party not part of his mandate

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall speaks as B.C. Premier Christy Clark looks on at a meeting of First Ministers and Indigenous leaders in Ottawa last year. The NDP says Wall is the last premier to accept a salary top-up from his party after Clark stopped taking a similar payment. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Provincial conflict of interest commissioner Ron Barclay says he doesn't have a problem with Premier Brad Wall's longstanding practice of receiving a $40,000 annual payment from the Saskatchewan Party.

"I was completely satisfied that the premier was complying with the legislation and it was completely ethical and transparent," Barclay told CBC News.

Wall gets an annual payment of between $37,000 and $40,000 for duties he performs as leader of the Sask. Party.

That's in addition to the approximately $166,000 he receives as an annual salary for being premier and a member of the legislature.

Conflict of interest commissioner Ron Barclay says it's 'completely ethical' for Premier Brad wall to receive a salary top-up from the Saskatchewan Party. (CBC)

The party stipend has come under fire from the New Democrat Opposition, which notes that the Sask. Party gets many donations from out-of-province corporations.

This past weekend, B.C. Premier Christy Clark revealed that she no longer receives a salary top-up — previously $50,000 — from her party, the B.C. Liberals.

That makes Wall the only provincial premier to get such a "bonus", the NDP says. 

The public is in the dark about how much of Wall's stipend comes from companies, the NDP said earlier this week in a news release. 

In 2015, the Sask. Party received donations from companies such as Cenovus ($8,000), Alliance Energy ($8,380) and Enbridge Pipelines ($7,300).

Barclay says the stipend is not a conflict of interest.

"The premier was in compliance of the legislation and my assessment [was] what he did was ethical," he said.

"He didn't have to disclose to the public the exact amount of the stipend, but he did that in the event and that really showed the whole transaction was transparent."

Barclay says he has not been mandated to look at where the Sask. Party gets its money.

"I wouldn't be dealing with that at all," he said. "I just want to know where the [stipend] money is coming from — it's coming from the Saskatchewan Party."

After being asked about the stipend earlier this week, the Premier's office issued a written statement saying there are additional duties the party leader undertakes outside of his job in the legislature on behalf of the party, including speaking engagements and leader's dinners.

"The money doesn't come from taxpayers and it is reported each year on his income taxes," the statement from the Premier's office said. "There is no intention to change the practice." 

With files from Coreen Larson

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