Monday, December 03, 2012

Premier Redford in conflict of interest, but not for the reasons you may think.

There has been a lot already written in the media on the subject of Alison Redford and conflict of interest; but all of the stories seem to approach the issue from the exact same perspective.Whether Alison Redford's actions as Justice Minister in the tobacco litigation case were a conflict of interest and how/if those actions could benefit her ex-husband whose law firm (JSS) was chosen.

And as per usual the media missed it again.

It is not so much Redford's decision that was the problem it was that she was involved in the selection process at all. Quite simply she should have recused herself the second that she learned that JSS was involved.

A true no win situation:

We all know the kerfuffle caused by what Redford did; the optics are simply terrible and for that reason alone she should have never been involved in the process as the perception of a conflict of interest was very much real.

But what about what Redford did not do?

Imagine what could have happened had Redford perused another of her options and disqualified her ex-husbands firm? While it would eliminate the 'benefit' issue from the equation it adds another as it could be argued that she had made such a decision because of animosity towards her ex! Which is not an uncommon thing when ex-spouses are involved and it would not be a stretch to suggest that a smart group of lawyers, say JSS for example, could easily make such a case opening up the possibility of a damage suit against the Alberta Government for potentially hundreds of millions of dollars ( remember this could be worth billions to the winning firm) all because Redford could not see the obvious conflicts and stepped away from being involved in the process.

Do you think there is a judge in Canada who would ever sit in decision over an ex-spouse for something even as simple as a parking ticket?  Or if in the remote chance that something like that did happen that any such decision could ever withstand an appeal?   Not a chance.

The conflict of interest was not Redford's particular decision to award JSS the contract, although that itself is arguable, it was that she was involved in the process to begin with.  As Justice Minister, Redford's 'interests' were not merely those of herself but also those of Alberta; not only should she have voluntarily recused herself, I believe that she was obligated to do so.


A few comments on the spin notion that Redford did not make the decision to go with JSS.

Based on documents found at the CBC it is quite clear that she did make the decision and unless somebody has a reasonable explanation as to how an acceptance letter and 2 separate rejection letters were sent out to the law firms involved BEFORE the government claims that the decision as to which firm to go with was made, only those that choose not to face reality are going to buy Redford's or the governments story. It simply doesn't make sense.

They may try to parse words and try to use tight legal definitions but to say that the 'decision' was not made until the contract was signed would be the same as if the Edmonton Oilers claimed that they didn't actually draft Taylor Hall until his contract was signed. Total nonsense.


Anonymous said...

I never looked at it that way. If Red had turfed her ex's firm it would have left us vulnerable to a huge law suit.

Blame Crash said...

Let us forget about Redford and her lying ways for a minute and go back to the decision to sue the tobacco companies. My point is, how can this lawsuit itself not be anything but a fraud? These tobacco companies have already been sued into subjugation? They’ve been sucked dry by all the crooked lying lawyers and their accomplices long long ago.
This is all just a big corrupt racket being run by the corrupt legal system, to benefit the corrupt legal system. And now we learn how lawyer Redford got in on the action. Now why am I not surprised!

Anonymous said...

Redford is dishonest. The cronyism in Alberta has reached disgusting levels.