March 10, 2022
Treaty 1 and Dakota Territory, Homeland of the Red River Métis, Winnipeg MB—The Manitoba NDP revealed today Premier Stefanson sat on a cabinet committee that gave a $23 million dollar Government contract to a company that had used her husband's firm for millions of dollars of business.
NDP Justice Critic Nahanni Fontaine wrote to Manitoba’s Conflict of Interest Commissioner this week, asking him to issue an opinion on a conflict of interest between Premier Stefanson’s role in the 2019 decision to award a government contract to Exchange Income Corporation (“EIC”), a company that used her husband (Jason Stefanson)'s firm to help sell millions of dollars of debt and stocks.
"The Premier should not be involved in awarding contracts to companies that do millions of dollars of business with her family" said Fontaine. "This is a clear conflict and it's wrong - the Premier needs to explain to Manitobans why she thinks there are one set of rules for Manitobans and one for herself".
In February 2019 the provincial government announced EIC had been awarded a $23 million contract as part of its plan to privatize Government Air Services. According to a government press release, the awarding process was led by Treasury Board, of which Premier Stefanson was a member.
Premier Stefanson’s husband Jason Stefanson is employed by CIBC World Markets which has acted as an underwriter for EIC for debt and stock issuances.
In October 2019, EIC issued $70 million dollars of common shares and according to the prospectus, the underwriters' fee was up to $2.8 million. Jason Stefanson is listed as one of signatories to the "Certificate of the Underwriters" on that document.
In December 2017, EIC issued of $100 million dollars of debt and according to the prospectus, the underwriters' fee was up to $4 million. Jason Stefanson is listed as one of signatories to the "Certificate of the Underwriters" on that document.
Section 19.(1) of Manitoba’s The Legislative Assembly and Executive Council Conflict of Interest Act states Ministers must not use their position to influence any government decision if they have a dependent, like a spouse, who has a financial interest in the matter.