Shares of Edmonton-based drug manufacturer soared 85% after the announcement was made by federal officials in Ottawa
Ottawa (20 Feb. 2007) - The president of a cold remedy company, whose share price went through the roof after receiving a critical green light from Health Canada last week, met with an array of Tory politicians including Prime Minister Stephen Harper in November without registering as a lobbyist.
The Parliament Hill meetings appear to have violated the letter and the spirit of the Conservatives' new Accountability Act and also the federal Lobbyists Registration Act.
On Nov. 7, Dr. Jacqueline Shan, president of CV Technologies, Inc. of Edmonton, accompanied by hockey commentator Don Cherry, a paid company spokesman, met with about 20 Tory MPs, including several cabinet ministers, in the exclusive Parliamentary Dining Room in the Centre Block on Parliament Hill.
Shan and Cherry later met directly with Harper in his Parliament Hill office. The company hired Cherry in 2004, specifically to promote sales of the product. They were invited to the capital by James Rajotte, chairman of the Commons industry committee and Tory MP for the corporate president's Edmonton-Leduc riding.
Last week, the company received a critical regulatory ruling - worth untold millions - from Health Canada, allowing it to claim in advertising that COLD-fx reduces "the frequency, severity and duration of cold and flu symptoms by boosting the immune system."
Share value soared $155 million
On Feb. 16, the day after the announcement was made, shares of the company soared 85% – from $1.75 a share to $3.25 – a huge boost for anyone with a financial interest in the Edmonton-based firm.
The company had 103,525,506 outstanding common shares as of Dec. 31. This would imply an one-day increase in total market value of $155,288,259.
"This is our strongest point of medical recognition to date," Shan boasted following the announcement in an interview with the National Post. "This is one of the most important milestones in the history of the company and should stimulate significant interest in the medical community."
During the lunchtime meeting with Tory politicians on Nov. 7, Shan gave a presentation on her company and voiced frustration with the process of getting approval from Health Canada to approve product claims at the centre of the firm's marketing campaign. "Her product is approved for sale in Canada, but there's restrictions on how she can advertise," Rajotte complained to the Post in December, a few weeks after the visit.
The Conservatives have been the most sanctimonious of all political parties on issues related to political ethics.
However, they were conspicuously silent on Monday after the New Democratic Party called their ethical standards into question by exposing the visit to the Hill by Shan and her meetings with Tory insiders, including the prime minister.
NDP ethics critic Pat Martin said the meetings were "dead wrong" and called for an investigation.
The federal Lobbyists Registration Act requires all individuals working for corporations, and communicate with public office holders on behalf of their employers, to register as lobbyists.
"The requirement stipulates that the name of every senior employee who lobbies must be disclosed, including if applicable, the senior officer," says Stephanie LeBlanc, spokesperson for the Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) has long supported stronger legislation to enhance political accountability by public office holders, especially in the area of better whistle-blowing protection for public employees. NUPGE