LeBlanc in conflict over surf clam licence, ethics commissioner says

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OTTAWA — The federal ethics watchdog says Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc was in a conflict of interest when he approved an Arctic surf clam licence to a company employing a family member.

Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion says in a report today that LeBlanc knew his wife’s first cousin was involved in the Five Nations Clam Co. when he awarded it a multi-million dollar license in February.

The license came as the government tried to open up 25 per cent of the catch to local Indigenous communities.

Dion says he decided to launch an investigation into the deal after he became aware that Gilles Theriault was the general manager of Five Nations Clam Co., and would have benefited financially from the licence.

LeBlanc was shuffled out as fisheries minister in July, the same month the government decided to cancel the license and start the process over.

New Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said in August the licence cancellation had nothing to do with the ethics issue facing LeBlanc and that he didn’t think LeBlanc had acted inappropriately.

The Canadian Press