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Trade Minister Mary Ng apologizes after awarding contracts to friend’s company

by The Canadian Parvasi

Centre Court Developments

Canadain Trade Minister Mary Ng apologized via Twitter after Canada’s conflict of interest and ethics commissioner, Mario Dion, ruled that the Trade Minister had put herself in a conflict of interest by awarding contracts of her office to her friend’s company.

The Commisioner asserted in his report released on Tuesday that Ng had placed herself in a conflict of interest as her office signed contracts with media and communications training with public relations agency Pomp & Circumstance, which is cofounded and ran by Amanda Alvaro, who was defined by the commissioner as a friend of Ng as per the definition in the Conflict of Interest Act.

Ng’s office signed media and communications training contracts on behalf of the trade minister in March 2019 and April 2020.

In a news release on Tuesday, Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion ruled, “The decision to trigger the steps that resulted in obtaining services from a company owned by one of her friends placed Minister Ng in a conflict of interest. She should have known to instead withdraw from the process that led to the awarding of the contracts and obtain similar services from another provider…Minister Ng twice failed to recognize a potential conflict of interest involving a friend, an oversight of her obligations under the Conflict of Interest Act.”

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“There is simply no excuse for contracting with a friend’s company. This includes the need to quickly obtain media training services to help Minister Ng respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020…Ministers are expected to uphold the highest standards of accountability, including those set out in the Conflict of Interest Act. Complying with the Act is a condition of appointment and employment for all public office holders,” the news release further read.

At the house of Commons on Tuesday. Ng stated that she took “full responsibility” for the incident.

“At no time was there any intention for anyone to benefit inappropriately…My efforts fell short of my own high personal standard for transparency and accountability, which Canadians have a right to expect from their elected officials. I am sorry, and it won’t happen again,” Ng said during the questions period at the house of  commons on Tuesday.

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