New Conservative government to bring real accountability and transparency to government
A new Conservative government will introduce legislation to attach stiff penalties for violating ethics laws and strengthen the powers of parliamentary watchdogs during its first 100 days, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer announced today.
Scheer said he will establish penalties for violations of the Conflict of Interest Act that do not currently carry penalties. The penalties will be proportional to the severity of the violation and the seniority of the offender and they will carry a maximum fine of $20,000. This includes the sections of the Act that deal with conflict of interest, preferential treatment, insider information, influence, accepting gifts and other violations.
“When you break ethics laws, as Justin Trudeau has done twice, there should be real consequences,” Scheer said. “As Prime Minister, I will make sure politicians who break the law to benefit themselves and their friends will pay a heavy price.”
When Finance Minister Bill Morneau failed to disclose his villa in France to the Ethics Commissioner, he was only forced to pay a fine of $200.
When Justin Trudeau was found guilty of violating the Conflict of Interest Act for accepting a free vacation to the Aga Khan’s private island and for interfering in the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin, there were no penalties at all.
“Canadians expect accountability when their leaders violate the law and violate their trust and that’s what I will deliver,” Scheer said.
Currently, the maximum fine for breaching the Conflict of Interest Act is five hundred dollars, and only applies when public office holders fail to meet reporting requirements.
A new Conservative government will also restore accountability and transparency in government by:
- Increasing oversight powers of the Ethics Commissioner and Lobbying Commissioner
- Strengthening lobbying restrictions
- Closing the loophole in the Conflict of Interest Act that allows the indirect holding of shares by Cabinet ministers
- Introducing legislative reforms for whistleblowers
Scheer has already announced he will hold a judicial inquiry into the SNC-Lavalin scandal and pass the No More Cover Ups Act, which will prevent corrupt politicians from using Cabinet confidence to cover up their scandals.
“In 2015, Justin Trudeau promised he would be ethical and accountable. Every day since then, he has proven that he is not as advertised,” Scheer said. “Time and time again, he and his Ministers have abused the power of their office for their own personal gain. A Prime Minister who so willingly deceives and breaks the law simply cannot be entrusted with the duties and responsibilities of governing for Canada.”
On October 21, Canadians have a choice between Justin Trudeau who abuses his power, bends the law for his friends, attempts to silence his critics and destroys their reputations – and a Conservative government led by Andrew Scheer who will uphold the rule of law, respect our democratic institutions, and help all Canadians get ahead.
- The Conflict of Interest Act was introduced by the previous Conservative government through the Federal Accountability Act, replacing the Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment Code for Public Office Holders.
- Currently Canada’s Conflict of Interest Act “does not provide for any sanctions for breaches found following an examination by the conflict of interest and ethics commissioner.”
- The only penalties the Ethics Commissioner has the power to impose under the Act are “administrative monetary penalties,” which only apply when public office holders fail to meet reporting requirements.