Politics
Wynne says protections in place to prevent spousal conflict of interest

Leadership candidate Kathleen Wynne is seen with her partner Jane Rounthwaite

Credits: REUTERS

ANTONELLA ARTUSO | QMI AGENCY

TORONTO - Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says her spouse - partial owner of a company which supplies executives on a contract or interim basis - will not take on government business.

Jane Rounthwaite, who is married to Wynne, owns 40% of The Osborne Group which counts Ontario government ministries and organizations funded through the provincial treasury as clients.

"Jane has already met with the Integrity Commissioner, those protections are being put in place so she will never be in a situation where she is bidding on a government contract," Wynne said. "And there will be a wall between her and any of those contracts. So we are being very prudent and very careful that she's not involved in anything that would have directly to do with the government."

But opposition members say they're not certain that enough is being done to prevent a conflict of interest.

Tory MPP Todd Smith said the situation warrants more scrutiny and transparency.

"It's a big concern to us and I'm surprised it's actually taken until now to become public, and that the new premier wouldn't have brought this forward earlier," Smith said.

NDP MPP Gilles Bisson said he's not aware of the details of Rounthwaite's company but said the issue should be before the integrity commissioner.

"Normally the convention is the family of the premier, the family of the cabinet minister, can't be involved in a business that's connected to the business of the government," Bisson said. "It's something that's a concern, it's something that needs to be looked at..."
Cathryn Motherwell, Director of the Office of the Integrity Commissioner said in a statement to QMI Agency that the office was approached by Rounthwaite's business regarding possible conflict of interest issues.

"The Office is bound by confidentiality regarding all inquiries received under the Members' Integrity Act, 1994, as well as on any advice provided," Motherwell said.

The Osborne Group of Toronto, which in 2012 was half owned by Rounthwaite, has served the government ministries of children and youth services, community and social services, economic development and trade, finance, health and long-term care and revenue.

Although she has been in cabinet for several years, Wynne did not serve in any of those portfolios.

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