Beating off criticisms that he represents the “Old Boys Club” of Alberta’s Progressive Conservative Party, leadership front-runner Gary Mar‘s campaign has been helped with a public plea from his former executive assistant and current campaign volunteer to leave him alone! Mr. Mar’s former EA happens to be none other than Kelley Charlebois.
Albertans may remember Mr. Charlebois as the owner of the company that was awarded $390,000 worth of controversial contracts to consult with with then-Health Minister Mar between 2002 and 2004.
When asked by Liberal MLA Kevin Taft in 2004 about what reports Charlebois Consulting had completed for Health and Wellness, Mr, Mar simply responded that “there are no reports as such.”
When asked whether Charlebois Consulting won these contracts through a competitive process, Mr. Mar simply responded “No.”
Even auditor general Fred Dunn reported that Mr. Mar’s ministry failed to follow its own policies when issuing the contract to Mr. Charlebois’ company.
Mr. Mar is also taking heat for accepting a a $478,499 severance payment when he resigned as a MLA to become Alberta’s representative in Washington D.C. in 2007. Mr. Mar had pledged not to accept the payment, but he quietly cashed in not long after he started his $264,069 base salary job as Alberta’s chief lobbyist in the American capital.
When asked about his decision to accept the severance, Mr. Mar told the media: “I did say I would defer it to some point in the future. I didn’t say when.”
In the words of former federal Liberal cabinet minister David Dingwall, Mr. Mar was entitled to his entitlements.