Richards Report – January 5 2018 – Three Strikes and You’re Out

Three Strikes and You’re Out

Canadians have lost count of how many of members of the Trudeau government are or have been under investigation by the Ethics Commissioner. Just like how Finance Minister Bill Morneau lost count of how many French villas he owned, there are simply too many ethics violations that the Liberals are embroiled in. Canadians can only assume that this is the “real change” and “sunny ways” that the Liberals campaigned on in 2015.

At the end of 2017, the Ethics Commissioner released a report that stated the Prime Minister broke four sections of the Conflict of Interest Act. Justin Trudeau became the first Canadian Prime Minister to break a federal law while in office. As Prime Minister, he has to ensure that he is following all the laws. The rules must apply to him just as they do to everyone else. While he did apologize (after being caught), the Prime Minister needs to do the right thing and re-pay Canadian taxpayers the more than $200,000 his vacation cost.

The Canadian Press chose one of the Prime Minister’s top cabinet ministers, Bill Morneau as the 2017 Business Newsmaker of the Year. While that usually calls for some celebration, it is doubtful that the Finance Minister will be printing off copies of this story to frame. 2017 was a busy year for Morneau. He attempted to tax small businesses out of existence with new tax changes which targeted small business owners, farmers and doctors. Beyond that, the Ethics Commissioner began an investigation into Morneau. In 2016, the Finance Minister introduced a bill to rewrite federal pension laws – a bill that could benefit Morneau Shepell. However, it turns out that Morneau never placed his one million shares of the company into a blind trust, as required.

To round out the Liberal trifecta of ethical scandals is Calgary minister Kent Hehr. While making the news for belittling Thalidomide survivors, he too has been caught up in an ethics related scandal. Our Conservative Party’s ethic’s critic contacted the Ethics Commissioner regarding Hehr using House of Commons resources to campaign for his father during the municipal elections in Calgary. While his support for his father is understandable, the rules are in place for a reason. Taxpayers provide resources to members of Parliament to perform their duty, not to be used in a partisan way. There would be no issue had Hehr chosen to campaign without using his MP resources. Were there any other instances of Hehr using parliamentary resources to campaign for his father? Canadians eagerly await the findings from the Ethics Commissioner.

The Prime Minister continues to insist that his government and cabinet remain committed to openness, transparency and accountability. It’s high time for him to show that these are more than just words and back them up with some action. So far, Canadians have not seen much on this front from the Trudeau government.