POLITICS

Newfoundland politician's role in program violated code of conduct, report finds

08/15/2013 02:24 EDT | Updated 10/15/2013 05:12 EDT
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - A Progressive Conservative backbencher in Newfoundland and Labrador has been found in violation of the code of conduct for members of the legislature for his role in the administration of a publicly funded adult education program on Bell Island.

In a report dated Aug. 9, the commissioner for legislative standards said David Brazil "failed to take reasonable steps to remove himself from a conflict of interest situation in a timely manner" by acting as the chairman of a non-profit committee that administered and sponsored the program.

Commissioner Victor Powers also found that Brazil, the member for Conception Bay East-Bell Island, failed to provide an accurate disclosure statement as required by members of the legislature and should be reprimanded.

Brazil apologized for his actions Thursday and said he accepts the commissioner's findings.

The report said the program, which received provincial funding between 2009 and 2012, was administered and sponsored by a subcommittee of the Bell Island Senior Blues hockey team.

It said Brazil served as the team's general manager during various periods and also chaired the subcommittee and was authorized to sign cheques under an account where the funding for the education program was deposited.

The report to the Speaker of the legislature recommended that Brazil be reprimanded, though the commissioner said he does not believe the politician's actions warrant a suspension, nor is it necessary that Brazil pay restitution as he did not profit from his actions.

Powers began investigating after a former Liberal member of the legislature said her office received a letter from a former instructor with the program who raised questions about its administration, operation and funding.

Brazil said his failure to disclose his affiliation with the hockey team was an "oversight" on his part.

"I'm no different than anybody else. There's rules and regulations that I need to abide by," he said in an interview.

"I do apologize if, in any way, this has embarrassed (my constituents)."