Liberal campaign co-chair resigns after instructing oil company how to lobby government

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Justin Trudeau’s campaign co-chair, Daniel Gagnier, has resigned following a controversy in which he was caught emailing the company responsible for a pipeline project and advising them on how to lobby a future Liberal or NDP government.

The email from Gagnier to TransCanada Corp. was first obtained by the Canadian Press and published Wednesday, immediately sparking ire toward the Liberal Party, who currently lead in the polls. According to the Canadian Press, the email was sent to five executives at TransCanada Corp. and advised them to target immediate conversations between premiers and the new Prime Minister if the Conservatives lose in order to keep their Energy East pipeline on schedule.

Parts of the email included statements recommending that TransCanada Corp. be a “spear carrier” for a national energy strategy in the midst of a “changing global reality.” Gagnier then writes that “federal leadership and a discussion with premiers will take place early. This is where we can play and help them get things right.”

Shortly after the email surfaced, Gagnier issued a statement announcing his resignation from the campaign.

“In order to avoid becoming a distraction to the campaign, I have decided to take a step back from my responsibilities to the Liberal campaign. I deeply regret that the campaign has been affected by these negative, personal attacks. I have always conducted my business openly and in full accordance with the rules. In the best interests of the party, I have taken this decision. I continue to support Justin Trudeau and hope for a Liberal government on October 19.”

During a press stop on Thursday, Trudeau called Gagnier’s actions “unacceptable and inappropriate,” and touted his high standards of ethics and accountability.

Before being brought onto the Liberal campaign in an advisory role, some of Gagnier’s past positions included President for the Energy Policy Institute of Canada, board member for the International Institute for Sustainable Development, Chief of Staff to former Quebec Premier Jean Charest and Director sitting on the Board of Sustainable Development Technology Canada.

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Jill Slattery Jill Slattery was born and raised in Vancouver, where she also earned an Arts degree from UBC in English and Creative Writing. She is an avid TV-watcher and a shameless Taylor Swift fangirl. Jill is a Staff Writer at Vancity Buzz. Contact her at jill@vancitybuzz.com
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