Democracy Watch appeals court decision over B.C. Liberals’ fundraising

Group appeals ruling over B.C. Liberal fundraising

VANCOUVER — The group Democracy Watch is appealing a B.C. Supreme Court decision tossing out a case involving allegations that Premier Christy Clark was in a conflict of interest related to the Liberal party’s fundraising events.

A judge ruled in January that he didn’t have the jurisdiction to overturn a decision from the province’s conflict commissioner, who determined Clark’s appearances at the events did not constitute a conflict.

Justice Kenneth Affleck said conflict commissioner Paul Fraser makes recommendations to the legislature and it can choose whether to discipline its members.

Democracy Watch spokesman Duff Conacher says the group is asking the B.C. Appeal Court to hear the case because the lower court’s ruling essentially means members of the public who complain to the conflict commissioner are not entitled to a remedy.

Democracy Watch lawyer Jason Gratl says the organization also disputes a finding that members of the cabinet are always protected by legislative privilege.

In its complaint, Democracy Watch argued Clark benefited personally because she was getting a $50,000 annual stipend from the B.C. Liberals.

Clark asked the party to stop paying her in January, saying it had become a distraction.

A spokeswoman for the party said Monday that they would reserve comment on the appeal because the case is currently before the court.  



The Canadian Press

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