B.C. Conflict of Interest Commissioner Paul Fraser dies after brief illness - InfoNews

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B.C. Conflict of Interest Commissioner Paul Fraser dies after brief illness

April 01, 2019 - 4:00 PM

VICTORIA - Members of British Columbia's legislature observed a moment of silence Monday for Conflict of Interest Commissioner Paul Fraser who died Friday after a brief illness. He was 78 years old.

Many members of Fraser's family, including his wife, daughters and son and grandchildren, were in the legislature gallery during the tribute. His office staff was also seated in the legislature.

"All of the members here know Paul's good nature and his commitment and dedication to public service," said Premier John Horgan. "He was first and foremost committed to ensuring that none of us in this place stepped over any lines, and he was quick to tell us when we were on the side of the angels."

Opposition Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson said Fraser's reputation was one of integrity, professionalism, humanity and pragmatism.

"His job was to maintain the integrity of all of us and the institution, and he did that," Wilkinson said. "We all owe him a great debt of thanks, and we will miss him."

Green Leader Andrew Weaver said he spoke with Fraser barely two weeks ago and is devastated by his passing.

Fraser, a lawyer, had been B.C.'s conflict commissioner since Jan. 1, 2008 and was unanimously reappointed to a third term in May 2018 by the members of the legislature.

The conflict of interest office said in a statement members of the legislature relied on Fraser's counsel, guidance and advice for more than a decade and the commissioner will be remembered for his wisdom, professionalism, warmth, generosity of spirit, sense of humour and joie de vivre.

Speaker Darryl Plecas said Fraser will be remembered "as a man of character, dedication and integrity."

Fraser handled conflict of interest complaints against former B.C. premier Christy Clark, former Alberta premier Alison Redford and B.C. Attorney General David Eby.

Most recently, Delta North New Democrat Ravi Kahlon sought Fraser's interpretation of whether his father's taxi licence put him in a conflict while sitting on an all-party legislative committee reviewing ride hailing.

Fraser also served as chairman of two federal commissions, including the 1983 Fraser Commission on prostitution and pornography in Canada and an Industrial Inquiry Commission following a 1995 national railway strike.

He served a special legal counsel to former Liberal foreign affairs minister Lloyd Axworthy during the 1990s on Canada, United States trade issues.

Horgan said Fraser never lost his sense of humour. He recalled how Fraser once handed him an orange tie, representing the New Democratic Party colour, as a gift.

"Paul gave me this tie and said that I didn't have to declare it because it was so ugly," said Horgan. "He had only one orange tie, and he couldn't think of a better person to own it."

News from © The Canadian Press, 2019
The Canadian Press

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