Ethics watchdog starts probe into Conservative MPs

The House of Commons ethics comission is reviewing a potential conflict of interest involving Rob Clarke and Rod Bruinooge

OTTAWA – The House of Commons ethics watchdog is reviewing a potential conflict of interest case involving Conservative MPs Rob Clarke and Rod Bruinooge.

Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson’s office says it is conducting a preliminary review into the facts around a complaint brought against the two by Liberal MP Scott Simms.

Simms alleges that Clarke, a Saskatchewan MP, and Bruinooge, whose riding is in Winnipeg, violated ethics rules when they voted in favour of a recent bill that would allow the use of electronic devices at polling stations.

The two men have a stake in a piece of campaign software called ProxiVote, a tool to help keep political canvassers in touch with each other and to track which supporters have cast ballots.

Simms argues that Clarke and Bruinooge were in a conflict of interest when they voted for changes to the Canada Elections Act, because the company stands to benefit from the lifting of restrictions on devices.

Dawson’s office emphasizes that they are simply gathering information on the Simms complaint, in order to determine whether it warrants a full-blown inquiry.

Clarke and Bruinooge, whose wife owns the firm that makes the software, were not immediately available for comment.


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