Let’s play a game of “Who said that?”
1) “Did you not realize that it was inappropriate, at the very least, for you to be involved in a decision that would likely involve a substantial financial benefit to your ex-husband?”
2) “Even if she gets off on a technicality, I think most reasonable Albertans with a common-sense approach to this would know that she was in a conflict, and she should have recused herself from making that decision,”
These quotes were reported in media as responses to the Allison Redford tobacco scandal, in which her ex-husband’s law firm had been given a lucrative government contract for a lawsuit against “big tobacco” during her time as justice minister. Ultimately, Redford was cleared by the ethics commissioner, but the outrage was most certainly justified. Well, it would have been justified, if the people making these quotes weren’t complete hypocrites.
So, who said that?
1) NDP House Leader Brian Mason
2) NDP Premier Rachel Notley
Why are they hypocrites, you ask? Well, Alberta’s new Premier, the aforementioned Rachel Notley, is married to Lou Arab. Lou Arab is a long time communications and PR executive with the Canadian Union of Provincial Employees (CUPE). The CUPE represents over 35,000 unionized public employees in Alberta with over 200 collective agreements. With this information, it’s quite clear that there is plenty of room for conflict of interest between the Premier and her CUPE executive husband. Further evidence of this conflict of interest was the first quarter donation of $15,000 by the CUPE to the Alberta NDP (this was the largest Q1 donation to the NDP overall, and the maximum annual contribution limit during a non-campaign period). When observing these facts, eyebrows should certainly be raised.
While we do not yet have any solid evidence of Arab having direct influence on Notley’s decisions, there is simply too much opportunity for conflict of interest between the Alberta Government and the CUPE as long as Arab remains an executive with the union. I would encourage Lou Arab to resign from his position with the CUPE to avoid this conflict of interest. To the opposition, I encourage a thorough look at any CUPE contracts that are signed during Rachel Notley’s term as Premier. Alberta simply cannot afford backroom deals with unions, and this conflict of interest puts Albertan taxpayers at a high risk of even further bloated public salaries paid on our dime. Albertans deserve better than that.