Former Liberal cabinet minister David Dingwall resigned today as the president of the Royal Canadian Mint because he said that under the current cloud of accusations, he doesn’t want to detract from the important work of the Mint.
The accusations stem around Dingwall’s inappropriate expenses while a president of the Mint which included:
- $92,682 for foreign travel including a one-day bill for over $13,000
- $40,355 for domestic travel
- $3,314 for foreign dining
- $11,173 for domestic dining, including $5,953 for a single meal at a posh Ottawa restaurant
- $5,297 for golf membership fees
- $2,500 for domestic limousine service (despite having a government car at his disposal)
In fact Dingwall’s 2004 expenses totalled $846,464 which is above and beyond his annual salary of $241,000.
But that’s not all! David Dingwall granted himself a licence to print his own money as he not only lobbied for biotech company Bioniche, but also for a Cape Breton Business development group, and Via Rail. Dingwall however failed to register as a lobbyist (for obvious reasons which shall become apparent).
Dingwall lobbied Industry Canada successfully on behalf of Bioniche for about $15 million under the department’s Technology Partnerships Canada (TPC) grants. Dingwall was promised a “success fee” of $350,000 for his work.
While serving in former Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chrétien’s cabinet, David Dingwall held the ACOA portfolio. After Dingwall left the cabinet (and government) in 1997, he was paid $20,000 in ACOA money as he successfully lobbied for a Cape Breton business development group in 2000 (Chronicle Herald, July 27). As he is the former ACOA minister this seems inappropriate. Indeed, the inclusion of lobbyist fees within ACOA grants is a violation of the agency’s rules. Since ACOA later found out that lobbyist fees were included within the application, it simply wrote off the money that it had given the business development group.
Remember the Gomery inquiry? It was uncovered at the inquiry into inappropriate sponsorships that David Dingwall was hired by Via Rail, shortly after he left government, to lobby cabinet for more cash for the Crown corporation. In a move to reduce appearances of inappropriate behaviour, Dingwall was put on the payroll instead of registering as a lobbyist. Dingwall denies that he was lobbying for Via. All Crown corporations are forbidden from hiring lobbyists (for what might seem like obvious reasons to most of us).
In fact, the Clerk of the Privy Council made this clear in a letter he sent to Crown Corporations regarding lobbyists in 1985:
I have also been asked to convey to you the Government’s desire to ensure that its relationship with Crown corporations henceforth be conducted without benefit of paid intermediaries under contract with Crown corporations. Even though, as you know, there have been only isolated instances of such practices, you should be advised that it is considered inappropriate for legal firms and other consultants to be engaged for the purpose of acting on behalf of a Crown corporation in its dealings with the Government. The same is true of consultants being retained to advise a Crown corporation on methods of gaining access to the Government or in accomplishing its objectives in respect of the Government.