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Fact check: Just how 'old boys club' is former Liberal campaign co-chair Dan Gagnier?

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The claim: NDP MP Charlie Angus accuses Justin Trudeau of backroom dealing after his campaign co-chair, Dan Gagnier, resigned over an email to TransCanada advising the oil company how best to lobby a Liberal government. Is this true?

Charlie Angus was quick to call out Justin Trudeau when news broke yesterday that the co-chair of the Liberal campaign had emailed TransCanada about how best to get a new government to approve the Energy East pipeline. Dan Gagnier has since resigned.

"It just goes to show that the 'real change' Mr. Trudeau is offering is apparently to replace the Conservative 'old boys club,' with the Liberal 'old boys club,'" Angus said.

Gagnier was president of EPIC, the Energy Policy Institute of Canada, representing the largest oil companies and lobby organizations in Canada. Bruce Carson is under investigation for illegal lobbying through EPIC.

Gagnier is a Liberal insider. He was chief of staff to Jean Charest from 2007-2009 and in 2012. He was asked to re-assume the role just as the student strikes were reaching their crisis point, in May. He was appointed in part, to negotiate with the students.

Charest lost the election, the following September.

Gagnier was also a senior officer with Rio Tinto Alcan, from June 2003 until March 2007, around the time he became Charest's chief of staff.

Side note: Rio Tinto Alcan had locked out its workers in Alma from January 2012 until July 2012.

In 2009, as accusations were circulating about corruption in awarding municipal contracts, and illegal political campaign contributions, Gagnier was involved in investigating cabinet ministers who had been named, and determined that allegations that they spent time on Tony Accurso's infamous yacht, were unfounded. One of the ministers, David Whissell, resigned from cabinet when it was made known that a paving company he co-owned was given untendered contracts.

In April 2012, he was named among three people as being involved in negotiations with Kahnawake, Mohawk Territory, to open a casino, in violation of Quebec lottery and gaming law. CAQ interim leader at the time Sylvie Roy said that the casino was being positioned as a trade-off to allow Quebec to build a section of highway through Mohawk land. The community narrowly rejected the casino plans in a referendum later that month.

APTN reported on Gagnier's connections to Bruce Carson and the illegal lobbying allegations back in March 2014, when he was first appointed co-chair of the Liberal Party Campaign. Emails obtained by the RCMP revealed that Gagnier had lobbied Charest on behalf of EPIC and was looped into emails from Carson in 2010 that sought to influence then Liberal natural resources minister Nathalie Normandeau.

Since 2012, Gagnier has donated nearly $10,000 to the Liberal Party of Canada.


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