Todd takes heat
Rules for former GNWT workers questioned

Arthur Milnes
Northern News Services

NNSL (Dec o4/98) - It was a feisty finance minister who jumped to his feet in the legislative assembly Wednesday, insisting former cabinet secretary Roland Bailey had not contravened the government's post-employment policies.

"There was no requirement to enforce any policy because Mr. Bailey met the criteria and the guidelines set by the GNWT," Todd said under intense questioning by MLAs.

Conflict of Interest Commissioner Anne Crawford identified four violations in her recent inquiry report.

Yesterday, Todd appeared more conciliatory when questioned by ordinary MLAs. Admitting, as chair of the government's financial management board, he had ultimate responsibility for enforcing GNWT post-employment rules, he said it was up to the government's senior officials to bring potential conflict areas to his attention.

"They understand the rules and regulations; they're mandated to make decisions; they swore to an oath of office," Todd said.

During three-and-a-half-years in the position, Todd said he has never had a waiver requesting a former GNWT worker be excused from post-employment guidelines come across his desk, nor did he from Bailey.

Hay River MLA Jane Groenewegen -- who was only one of a number of MLAs who questioned Todd yesterday -- said Bailey's conduct isn't the issue. "We're not talking about Bailey," she said. "We're talking about Mr. Todd."

Todd suggested Crawford and others have misunderstood the post-employment guidelines.

"There's an interpretation out there that is saying if you leave the government in the position of a senior have no capacity to make a living," he said. "Well, the policy doesn't say that.

"There's always two sides to every story," he added about Crawford's report. "And that will be debated in the next couple of days...and then people will be able to judge one way or another."

Bailey could not be reached for comment.

In other developments, Groenewegen put the assembly on notice she will continue to raise questions about a document, signed by four cabinet ministers and submitted to Crawford, which said former premier Don Morin had declared a conflict of interest at a 1996 cabinet meeting concerning the sale of Morin-owned lands.

Acting Premier Goo Arlooktoo took offence to these and other MLA's comments Thursday.

"I was expecting those kinds of statements in an effort to keep the momentum and to go out for more blood, etc," he said. "I did get word...this was going to be the next plan."

Arlooktoo attempted to defend his signature on the document, but was ruled out of order by Speaker Sam Gargan.

MLAs gather again today.