Former fisheries ambassador and federal Tory candidate Loyala Sullivan got rapped on the knuckles Wednesday for violating the one-year cooling off period for federal employees and lobbying the government on behalf of fish processing company Ocean Choice International (OCI).
Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson said Sullivan made representations to both the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans less than a year after he left his job as fisheries and conservation ambassador.
Sullivan was unable to comment, but OCI said it fully supports him; he is still employed with the company as vice-president of resource management and sustainability.
“OCI wishes to assure its customers, employees and other stakeholders that Mr. Sullivan’s previous role as ambassador has not presented any unfair or unethical advantage to the company, and will not present any unfair or unethical advantage in any of his future dealings with any level of government,” company spokeswoman Paula Kieley said in a statement provided to The Telegram.
However, Dawson found that on five different occasions Sullivan made representations to the government.
She said he had dealings with Foreign Affairs relating to an OCI international business agreement. He also had dealings with the government on an Arctic surf clam licence disagreement, an exemption to the shrimp management plan and other instances.
But Dawson said because the one-year cooling off process is now passed, and Sullivan is no longer employed by the government, she has no power to impose any sort of penalty on him.
Dawson was investigating Sullivan under the Conflict of Interest Act
Liberal provincial fisheries critic Jim Bennett initiated the ethics investigation with a complaint.
He said he’s happy to hear that he’s been vindicated.
“I’m satisfied with what the ethics commissioner did based on the federal conflict of interest guidelines as they exist today,” Bennett said.
“I certainly wish they were strengthened, but more importantly, I would like to see this province enact tough conflict of interest guidelines so the half a dozen people who run the fishery from behind closed doors can no longer do it with impunity, as it seems OCI is doing.”