An employee of the Conservatives' lead Senate critic on marijuana legalization had been lobbying independent senators for several weeks before he was fired last week for urging them to postpone a final vote on the matter.
Independent Sen. Ratna Omidvar says Malcolm Armstrong approached her three different times after committee meetings to discuss his concerns about Bill C-45. And she wasn't the only independent senator he spoke to.
"He's been a constant (presence), I think, at the social affairs committee," Omidvar said in an interview. "It wasn't just me. He made it a point to speak to as many senators as he could."
The first time Armstrong approached her was in mid-April following a meeting of the Senate's social affairs committee, which is studying the cannabis legalization bill. Omidvar said Armstrong didn't identify himself as a staffer of Conservative Sen. Claude Carignan, who is leading the Tory charge against the bill in the upper house, and she told him she didn't have time that day to talk to him.
At the next committee meeting, she said he handed her a document outlining his concerns about the bill, which again didn't identify him as a Tory senator's staffer. She noticed that he was wearing a Senate lanyard with his ID badge, so she asked him who he worked for.