TO THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF MANITOBA:
The background to this petition is as follows:
1. The Conflict of Interest Act in Manitoba has not been changed or updated in 30 years and the MLA for Assiniboia has implored the Provincial Government to improve the legislation by introducing a Bill on conflict of interest based on the spirit and intention of the Bill that he previously introduced which could be used as a framework to move forward.
2. The investment markets, federal and provincial taxes, and ease of investing through electronic methods has changed dramatically and quite significantly in the last few years.
3. MLAs currently do not have to disclose their penny stock holdings, stock holdings, ETF’s, bond holdings, property owned outside of Manitoba.
4. Under the current conflict of interest legislation it is easy for an MLA to gain an unfair financial advantage as it does not include immediate family members and there is no need to disclose property outside of Manitoba.
5. There are also new financial vehicles available today such as the tax free savings account, registered education, RES savings plan, registered disabilities savings plan, ETF’s, and scores of other financial instruments.
6. There is no method to prevent MLAs from inappropriately benefiting from their positions as even Cabinet Members can now be members of the Treasury Board.
7. The Manitoba conflict of interest legislation is far weaker than provinces such as Saskatchewan or the Federal Government and the Federal Finance Minister has recently been accused of conflict of interest due to not disclosing assets abroad.
8. Canadians and Manitobans expect the conflict of interest legislation to be consistent with expectations and technology of the 21st century.
We petition the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba as follows:
To urge the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba to update the Conflict of Interest Act by passing applicable legislation that includes immediate family, all investment vehicles, property, trusts, corporations, that can be found in Canada or liquid assets that are traded anywhere in the world.