An exclusive story from CBC investigative reporter Charles Rusnell:

Premier Alison Redford, while justice minister, personally chose her ex-husband’s law firm for a government tobacco-litigation contract worth potentially tens of millions of dollars in contingency fees, a CBC News investigation has found.

One of Canada’s top experts in conflict of interest says Redford was in a clear conflict and should have not made that decision.

Arthur Schafer, director of the Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics at the University of Manitoba, says Alison Redford should have recused herself from the decision-making process in the awarding of a contract to her ex-husband’s law firm while she was justice minister. (CBC)

As CBC News first revealed in May, the Redford government awarded the tobacco litigation contract — at $10 billion, the largest legal action in Alberta’s history — to International Tobacco Recovery Lawyers, a consortium of law firms from Florida, Ontario and Alberta.

The consortium includes the Calgary firms of Jensen Shawa Solomon Duguid Hawkes (JSS) and Cuming & Gillespie. The two firms have close personal and political ties to both Redford and the Progressive Conservative Party.

Redford’s former husband is Robert Hawkes, a partner in JSS, who served as her transition team leader after she won the Progressive Conservative Party leadership race in 2011 and ascended to the premier’s office. Read more…