Dec 15, 2016
By Jane Brown
The federal ethics commissioner has decided to question Prime Minister Justin Trudeau formally. Mary Dawson wants to determine whether he breached the Conflict of Interest Act when he attended Liberal Party cash-for-access fundraisers with corporate executives wanting favours from the federal government.
This is a change of position for Dawson who has for weeks ruled out taking action.
She will also question Liberal MP Bill Blair about a fundraiser he headlined that was attended by a lobby group pushing for laws that would allow small businesses to sell pot legally to recreational users. The former Toronto police chief is in charge of legalizing recreational marijuana.
This is the first time in a decade Parliament’s independent ethical watchdog has asked a sitting prime minister to defend his integrity.
In 2006, then Ethics Commissioner Bernard Shapiro interviewed Prime Minister Stephen Harper about possible enticements to get Liberal MP David Emerson to cross the floor to sit in the Conservative cabinet.
Prime Minister Trudeau has acknowledged that he listens to lobbyists, but ultimately makes decisions based on what’s best for Canadians.