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Ethics watchdog rules two more Conservative MPs sent inappropriate letters to CRTC

Canada's Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs Eve Adams speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa December 8, 2011.

CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS

Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson has ruled two more Conservative MPs acted improperly in sending letters to the CRTC.

The commissioner's office issued two compliance orders Thursday – one to Mississauga-Brampton South MP Eve Adams and another to Oshawa MP Colin Carrie. Both MPs are Parliamentary Secretaries, a job that involves assisting cabinet ministers and speaking on behalf of federal departments. Parliamentary secretaries are not cabinet ministers, but they are public office holders under the Conflict of Interest Act.

"In the orders, she notes that it was improper for Ms. Adams and Dr. Carrie, as parliamentary secretaries, to have written letters of support to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission on behalf of radio stations in their constituencies seeking broadcasting licences from the CRTC," said the commissioner's spokesperson Jocelyne Brisebois in a statement.

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The compliance orders come after the Globe and Mail reported on Saturday that the two parliamentary secretaries both used their full titles in writing letters to the CRTC last year.

The Globe also reported that the applicant supported by Mr. Carrie, Doug Kirk, is listed in the Elections Canada database as having made three contributions to the Oshawa Conservative riding association since June, 2007, totalling $639.25.

Last week the ethics commissioner issued a compliance order against Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, stating that he acted improperly in using his full title as finance minister and minister responsible for the Greater Toronto Area in writing a letter to the CRTC.

Mr. Flaherty, who represents the riding of Whitby-Oshawa, also wrote in support of the application from Mr. Kirk's Durham Radio, which proposed an easy listening station for an open spot at 88.1 FM in Toronto.

The open spot was awarded to Barrie's ROCK 95 last September.

Last summer, the ethics commissioner chose not to investigate another case involving the same radio competition and another Conservative MP. The Globe and Mail reported last year that Oak Ridges-Markham MP Paul Calandra held two private fundraisers in suburban basements that raised thousands from individuals connected to companies competing before the CRTC for the highly-coveted licence.

After receiving questions from the Globe, Mr. Calandra said he did nothing wrong, but vowed to return some of the donations.

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

A member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery since 1999, Bill Curry worked for The Hill Times and the National Post prior to joining The Globe in Feb. 2005. Originally from North Bay, Ont., Bill reports on a wide range of topics on Parliament Hill, with a focus on finance. More

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