March 4th, 2024

Ethics questions raised by Barnes’ deleted social media posts

By medicinehatnews on May 14, 2019.

Cypress-Medicine Hat UCP MLA Drew Barnes speaks to supporters during the April 16 election. Barnes' UCP government announced last week it would follow through with a $1.1-billion program set up by the previous government to spur petrochemical investment. Barnes believes several business advantages work in favour of this region.

MLA Drew Barnes is under scrutiny after promoting a company that he and his wife have a financial interest in.

The UCP MLA for Cypress-Medicine Hat posted on social media – and has since deleted – a photograph of himself standing next to a Belcore Homes sign with a “sold” sticker.

“Despite a housing market that hasn’t been the greatest in the past couple years, people are still looking to buy homes in #MedHat,” the post stated. “Why? The community is amazing, the people are amazing, and there’s no better place to call home. Let’s keep our population growing, Hatters!”

“In no way did we ask or promote any of mine or my wife’s businesses,” said Barnes on Tuesday afternoon. “Our intent was to raise the profile of how good it is to do business in Cypress-Medicine Hat and of course to increase my profile as a politician at the same time.”

The post on Facebook and Twitter were removed Monday night but not before question were raised as to whether the post was appropriate.

Barnes says he fully realizes now that the post was perceived differently than it was intended.

“We  immediately and voluntarily pulled them down,” said Barnes.

The News reached out to the Office of the Ethics Commissioner for Alberta, who would only say “the Act prohibits them from commenting.”

A CBC story quotes a lawyer who has worked in the Office of the Integrity Commissioner of Ontario and who is studying federal parliamentary ethics laws. The lawyer says he doesn’t think Barnes’ posts broke the rules.

In 2017 Barnes listed Belcore Homes and Belcore Holdings in a public disclosure statement indicating it was a business he and his wife have financial interests in.

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