If being a Member of Parliament has taught me anything, it’s that anything can happen in the world of Canadian politics. And normally the opposition or pundits will call out the Government of the day for some sort of scandal or violation. We expect that and in the current circumstances there is a lot to talk about… however, we are not used to independent Officers of Parliament denouncing the current Government.
For some context, Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion, a Liberal appointee, recently announced that due to health concerns, he would be leaving his post early. He took the opportunity to share some parting words with the national media. He emphatically denunciated the Liberal Government’s lack of regard for ethics laws and gave a very direct rebuke to those senior Liberals who disregard ethics laws. In a particularly scathing remark, Dion stated: “the act has been there for 17 years for ***** sake, so maybe the time has come to do something different so that we don’t keep repeating the same errors. After 17 years, maybe we should realize that something is not working.”
Mr. Dion and Canadians have reason to be disappointed. The message to respect Canadians and uphold good governance has not sunk in with the Liberals. Citing an article published by the National Post on February 16th, Mr. Dion found that “no less than five senior Liberals in violation of ethics laws, including Trudeau (again), cabinet ministers Dominic LeBlanc and Mary Ng, former minister Bill Morneau and parliamentary secretary Greg Fergus. The latter three occurred within the last three years.” In an ironic twist, Mr. Fergus also serves on the Ethics Committee.
The sweetheart deals to insiders from Minister Ng and the millions provided to Liberal-friendly McKinsey and Company are just two of the most recent examples. The response is standard after each time they have been caught; deny any wrongdoing, eventually apologize when more information comes to light that exposes what they did, and pledge to learn from their mistakes.
Mr. Dion saw right through Minister Ng’s excuses saying “that’s like if I drive in my car this afternoon and I drive through a red light and then argued with a (police) officer that it was too bad because I should have received training about red lights. It’s a convenient excuse, in my view.”
Canadians are struggling, recent polling suggests that as many as 67% of Canadians feel that Canada is broken. And the reasons for this stretch across the spectrum. From the devastating effects of inflation, poorer outcomes on virtually every aspect of government services, the division the Liberals are creating in our nation, to the disregard for ethics and accountability.
Trust has been eroded in the very foundation of our democratic institutions, and if we don’t take it seriously to repair that broken trust, the consequences will be devastating. Conservatives will strengthen ethics laws, improve access to information and government transparency, and while we are in opposition, continue to expose the Liberal corruption that has caused immense distrust between everyday Canadians and their government.