Statement regarding advice from City of Ottawa Integrity Commissioner

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In 25-plus years as a public servant and volunteer, I have been deeply committed to openness and transparency in government and the not-for-profit sector. My conduct as a former political assistant, federal public servant and long-serving community advocate is proof of this.

My candidacy in the City of Ottawa 2018 municipal election is another opportunity for me to live my values. And so, I believe that I, as well as each declared candidate running for public office, must disclose any potential for conflict of interest should I be elected.

Consequently, I am sharing background to demonstrate how my husband and I have worked – and will continue to work – to keep our professional lives free of either real or perceived conflict of interest.

For 20 years, my husband Patrick Dion has made his living as a government relations consultant, representing and registering on behalf of his clients at the federal, provincial and municipal levels of government, including the City of Ottawa. He has fully complied and will continue to fully comply with the requirements of the codes of conduct that govern his profession.

On October 5, 2017, given my intention to run in the 2018 municipal election, Patrick proactively wrote to City of Ottawa Integrity Commissioner Robert Marleau to seek his guidance regarding any potential implications of my being elected to office. Integrity Commissioner Marleau met with Patrick on October 10, 2017. A copy of Integrity Commission Marleau’s guidance is posted below.

I am confident that his statement eliminates any concern for any voter or registered candidate in Alta Vista ward. As an added measure of transparency, I will not knowingly accept campaign contributions from individuals affiliated with Patrick’s municipal clients or any of their industry peers.

Advice from City of Ottawa Integrity Commissioner Robert Marleau

Sent November 6, 2017 by email (pdf)

Mr. Dion,

Thank you for informing me of your situation, and for meeting with me to discuss potential implications for the future. To follow up our conversation, I thought it prudent to provide you with a rough idea of the possible actions my office would take, and the principles that would be involved, should your spouse be elected to office. I note that, at this juncture, there are no real Code issues while your spouse is a candidate—this is in anticipation of matters that may carry over after the election.

The main concern is that this situation could result in a real conflict of interest, for both your spouse (as a Member of Council) and yourself (as a lobbyist). To prevent this scenario, I would work with the two of you to examine potential overlap for your work.

Should an overlap be identified, we would meet to discuss ways to mitigate or eliminate the risk for a conflict of interest. Ultimately, the goal of any measures taken would be to create a situation where the two of you would be able to work independently, without breaching the duties in your respective Codes.

We can meet as necessary depending on the election results.

Meilleures salutations,

Robert Marleau
Office of the Integrity Commissioner