May 25, 2018

United Conservatives call for ethics investigation into Heaney re-hiring

The United Conservatives today are calling for an ethics investigation into the re-hiring of the Premier’s former chief of staff, John Heaney, already the subject of an ongoing investigation.

In a letter addressed to the Ethics Commissioner, United Conservative Accountability and Democracy Critic Nathan Cooper raises serious concerns about the fact that Heaney, who is bound by the Code of Conduct for Employees Serving in the Offices of the Premier and Cabinet Ministers, is also a registered lobbyist in British Columbia.

The Code of Conduct explicitly states that employees cannot engage in “any business or undertaking other than his or her employment with the government” and as a registered lobbyist in another province, Heaney is in clear violation. In fact, he registered in B.C. as a lobbyist for a cannabis client in January 2018 despite having resumed work for the Government of Alberta in October 2017.

“The NDP has a lot of explaining to do when it comes to justifying Mr. Heaney’s employment,” said Cooper. “The apparent Code of Conduct violation, combined with the fact that this individual is already under investigation for political interference in freedom of information (FOIP) requests, only serves to highlight the bad judgement and loose ethics of this government.”

In addition, a spokesperson for the Premier yesterday indicated that Mr. Heaney was hired to, among other things, provide “legal advice related to pipelines and market access”, despite not being licensed to practice law in Alberta.

“Albertans deserve to know why the NDP went to such great lengths to secretly put this NDP insider back on the public payroll,” said Cooper. “The manner in which the deal was done and the way it was made public, as well as the numerous ethical concerns surrounding the appointment itself are not what Albertans expect from their government and I look forward to a thorough investigation into this government’s troubling conduct.”