In the face of conflict-of-interest allegations, Land, Water and Resource Stewardship Minister Josie Osborne’s office has provided a timeline to show she was not involved in a decision to approve a $15-million grant to a non-profit group that purchased her husband’s investment property.
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In April, the Land, Water and Resource Stewardship Ministry announced that a $15 million stewardship fund would be given to the MakeWay Charitable Society, formerly known as Tides Canada, to co-ordinate watershed restoration projects led or co-led by First Nations.
Osborne’s husband, George Patterson, sold the Tofino Botanical Gardens to the MakeWay Charitable Society for $2.3 million on Sept. 17, 2021, according to land title documents. The 12-acre waterfront property on the Pacific Rim Highway was initially listed for $3.75 million.
The B.C. Liberals have asked conflict-of-interest commissioner Victoria Gray to look into whether there’s any conflict. They insist the optics aren’t good.
“How are British Columbians able to have confidence that the purchase of the property did not play a role in the award of the $15 million fund or that MakeWay did not leverage this purchase to gain influence with the minister’s office?” Lorne Doerkson, B.C. Liberal critic for Land, Water and Resource Stewardship, asked in a statement.