The B.C. Conflict of Interest Commissioner has found Mid-Island-Pacific Rim MLA Josie Osborne did not contravene the Conflict of Interest Act after her ministry awarded grant funding to an organization her husband had business dealings with.
B.C. Liberal MLA Lorne Doerkson brought the allegation over a $15 million grant received by the MakeWay Charitable Society, the same society that purchased the Tofino Botanical Gardens from Osborne’s husband George Patterson for $2.3 million in Sept. 2021.
Osborne, who serves as the minister of forests, lands and natural resources, disputed the allegation.
Commissioner Victoria Gray, wrote that Doerkson’s allegations were “unclear” and despite receiving information that Osborne was not involved in the grant decision, Doerksen continued to pursue the allegations.
Doerkson alleged that Osborne breached the Conflict of Interest Act on four occasions, all of which were dismissed by Gray.
“All of MLA Doerkson’s allegations appear to be based on suspicions arising from the facts that MakeWay received a government HWI 2.0 grant of $15 million, and that Minister Osborne’s husband, Mr. Patterson, had financial dealings with MakeWay in connection with selling the Gardens to MakeWay. MLA Doerkson also mistakenly believed that Minister Osborne had been lobbied about an HWI grant to MakeWay shortly after Mr. Patterson’s sale of the property to MakeWay, when in fact the lobbying was by MakeWay Shared Platform partners regarding other matters.”
“In my opinion, Minister Osborne has not contravened the Act as alleged by MLA Doerkson,” Gray concluded.