Alberta Conservative leader Alison Redford makes a campaign stop in Calgary on Tuesday. Albertans go to the polls on April 23.

Redford says she has no knowledge of reappointment of Asian envoy

Alberta Progressive Conservative Leader Alison Redford says she doesn’t know anything about reports that the province’s trade envoy to Asia has been reinstated.

EDMONTON — Alberta Progressive Conservative Leader Alison Redford says she doesn’t know anything about reports that the province’s trade envoy to Asia has been reinstated.

Radio stations CHQR and CHED cite sources as saying longtime Tory Gary Mar was allowed to return to his post earlier this month.

Mar, a failed leadership candidate, was given the Asia job by Redford after the race. He was put on unpaid leave before the election campaign while the province’s top civil servant investigated whether a fundraising dinner had violated ethics codes.

The dinner was held so that Mar could clear up his leadership debts. The allegation was that he was using his position as a civil servant based in Hong Kong to get people to attend the fundraiser.

Mar, a cabinet minister from the era of former premier Ralph Klein, denied wrongdoing from the start, and the radio report says he was cleared.

The review was used as ammunition against the Tories in the leadup to the election call. Opposition parties called it an example of how pork-barrel appointments can go wrong.

The report Thursday that Mar has been reappointed came just four days before voters go to the polls and on the same day party leaders were to gather for the final debate of the campaign at CBC studios in Edmonton.

In a statement, Redford called it an employee-employer matter.

“I have been clear from the beginning of this process that I would play no role in the investigation,” she said. “I have not played any role after referring it to the civil service to be dealt with nor was I informed of the decision.”

Staff in the premier’s office could not immediately confirm whether Mar was back at his post.

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