MLA challenges allegations again

Conservative leader requests conflict investigation to be reopened over Eric Foster's office

Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster continues to fight what he believes are politically motivated allegations.

John Cummins, B.C. Conservative leader, has requested that conflict of interest commissioner Paul Fraser reopen his investigation into Foster leasing space from his executive assistant’s family and renovations done to the 31st Avenue office after the 2009 election.

“If he wants to contact the commissioner, he can,” said Foster of Cummins.

“Why don’t they talk about policy? Those are the things that matter. Where will he get all of the efficiencies he needs to get the money he is going to save? How are you going to build a pipeline with no environmental assessments?”

In June 2012, Fraser found that Foster was not in a conflict of interest when he decided to lease and renovate the office.

“It is evident that the commissioner’s earlier investigation was seriously flawed,” said Cummins in a release.

Cummins says his party has four outstanding concerns about Fraser’s report pertaining to ownership of the office, who paid for renovations, the location of the office and leasing costs.

Cummins hopes, “the conflict of interest commissioner would be able to complete his new investigation before May 14 when British Columbians are scheduled to go to the polls in a provincial general election.”

Foster says he has confidence in the review led by Fraser last year.

“I did nothing wrong. I did it all by the book,” he said of leasing the space and negotiating renovations.

“To be in a conflict of interest, there has to be personal gain and there isn’t any.”

In a June 7, 2012 letter to Foster, Fraser outlined the findings of his investigation.

“It is my opinion that neither your private interest nor that of your constituency assistant were furthered by the lease arrangements that you negotiated as part of your official duties or functions as an MLA,” said Fraser. “In my view, a reasonably well-informed person would not properly have the perception that your ability to perform your public duty or function must have been affected by your private interest or that of your constituency assistant.”