Trudeau’s own directives appear to directly forbid the justice minister’s appearance at a Liberal fundraiser held at a prominent law firm, says Carleton University professor Paul Adams.

While political pundits say there is a role for politicians in party fundraisers, they also say the recent instance of Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould serving as the key attraction at an exclusive, high-priced event at the office of a prominent Toronto law firm was inappropriate on many levels.

The government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Papineau, Que.) has been facing some intense criticism in recent weeks because of a $500-a-person Liberal Party fundraiser on April 7 at the Toronto office of law firm Torys LLP, for which the attendance of Ms. Wilson-Raybould (Vancouver Granville, B.C.) was presented as the main draw.

While the office of Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson has confirmed that Ms. Wilson-Raybould checked with her office and was cleared to participate, critics say this is not enough.

Paul Adams, a Carleton University journalism professor specializing in politics, said even with the ethics commission’s “narrow” interpretation of how the Conflict of Interest Act applies in this case, Mr. Trudeau’s own guidelines issued at the start of his mandate should have prevented something like this from occurring.

“The guidelines that the prime minister issued in the fall seem, on their face, plainly to prohibit this,” he said.

A document issued by the Prime Minister’s Office on Nov. 27, called “Open and Accountable Government 2015,” featured a section about fundraising that said: “Ministers and parliamentary secretaries must ensure that political fundraising activities or considerations do not affect, or appear to affect, the exercise of their official duties or the access of individuals or organizations to government.”


Justice Minister Wilson-Raybould’s fundraising activity offside on many levels, say critics |