Liberals’ campaign co-chair resigns over email to...
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Oct 15, 2015  |  Vote 0    0

Liberals’ campaign co-chair resigns over email to pipeline officials

The Liberals say Justin Trudeau’s national campaign co-chair did not break any ethics standards when he sent a detailed email Monday to people behind the Energy East pipeline with advice on how and when to lobby a new government

OurWindsor.Ca

A largely gaffe-free Liberal campaign suffered a setback Wednesday with the resignation of the campaign’s co-chair over a conflict of-interest.

Dan Gagnier stepped down after it emerged he sent a detailed email to people behind the Energy East pipeline with advice on how and when to lobby a new government — including a Liberal minority.

Earlier the Liberals stood by Gagnier, saying he did not break any ethical standards. But in a statement later Wednesday, Gagnier said he didn’t want to be a distraction to the campaign.

“I deeply regret that the campaign has been affected by these negative, personal attacks,” the statement reads.

“I have always conducted my business openly and in full accordance with the rules. In the best interests of the party, I have taken this decision.”

In the email, Gagnier tells five people at TransCanada Corp. to target the right people in a new government as quickly as possible so they can help shape either Liberal or NDP decisions on a national energy strategy.

Such a lobbying effort would be needed to ensure the planned “in-service” dates of projects like Energy East aren’t put at risk, the email says.

Gagnier writes that getting this “early entry point” in any revisions to the rules governing the National Energy Board “is sensitive,” but also an opportunity.

“If the premiers and the new PM want investment and jobs, they will have to provide a lead and an efficient time-frame for getting this done,” he writes.

Near the end of the message, Gagnier notes that energy companies needed to act “uniformly” to work with a new government if the Conservatives lose the election on Oct. 19.

“An energy strategy for Canada is on the radar and we need a spear carrier for those in the industry who are part of the solution going forward rather than refusing to grasp the implications of a changing global reality,” reads the email, a copy of which was obtained by The Canadian Press.

“The last point is critical as federal leadership and a discussion with premiers will take place early. This is where we can play and help them get things right.”

A Liberal spokeswoman said Gagnier’s analysis, as outlined in the email, has “nothing to do with his volunteer role on the campaign,” nor does he advise Trudeau on energy issues.

“The analysis draws on his years of experience in public service, and is based on publicly available information describing possible scenarios that any new government may face,” Zita Astravas said in an email.

“In all areas, we hold our campaign to the highest ethical standards. I would point out that both the Conservative and NDP campaigns include many consultants.”

Gagnier has spent years in politics, including time working for the Privy Council Office, the central federal bureaucracy that supports the prime minister and cabinet.

He has also worked in the federal Department of Foreign Affairs and was twice chief of staff to former Quebec premier Jean Charest.

Toronto Star

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