Steinbach MLA Kelvin Goertzen has defended himself against allegations of conflict of interest raised by Liberal leader Dougald Lamont. In the Legislature this week, Lamont said Goertzen and two other MLAs who have rental properties, were in conflict when they voted on a bill that made changes to the Residential Tenancies Act.
Goertzen says Lamont did not do his research.
"The property that I think he is referring to is a property that I own that my mother lives in. It's a family arrangement. It's never been offered up for public rent, it will never be offered up for public rent so I believe he is wrong both in general allegation but also in the specific allegation."
Goertzen clarifies how the conflict of interest laws are applied.
"When people are in a broad class of individuals, then it doesn't apply to us specifically as Members of Parliament or Members of the Legislature. Probably the classic example that comes up all the time is, people say: How can you vote on legislation that increases taxes or decreases taxes because you're in a conflict because as MLAs, we're all taxpayers as well? But it's a broad class of individuals and so we're not precluded from voting on those issues."
He says the liberal leader is new to the legislature and may have been trying to score some political points but failed to do his homework.
"I would say that Mr. Lamont should be careful on some of these things. Obviously, I've been around politics long enough to know that there are some who will just throw as much mud against the wall as possible, just hoping that some of it sticks. But in situations like this, I think it's important to be careful and have all the facts before you make those sort of allegations."