Ethics Commissioner to question Trudeau on cash-for-access fundraisers


Mowich
Conservative
#1
Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson has decided to question Prime Minister Justin Trudeau formally 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.

Ms. Dawson, who has for weeks ruled out taking action, will also quiz Liberal MP Bill Blair – who is in charge of legalizing recreational marijuana – 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.

Once Ms. Dawson has completed the interviews, she will decide whether a full-scale investigation is required into Liberal Party fundraisers, at which people pay up to $1,500 for exclusive access to Mr. Trudeau or cabinet ministers in the homes of wealthy Canadians.

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, ethics commissioner Bernard Shapiro interviewed prime minister Stephen Harper about possible inducements to get Liberal MP David Emerson to cross the floor to sit in the Conservative cabinet.

Ms. Dawson laid out her concerns about the Trudeau and Blair fundraisers in a Dec. 13 letter to interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose marked “Confidential.” Ms. Ambrose wrote a formal complaint last week to Ms. Dawson and Lobbying Commissioner Karen Shepherd, saying Liberal special-access fundraisers may violate federal rules.

More..........

Ethics Commissioner to question Trudeau on cash-for-access fundraisers - The Globe and Mail
 
EagleSmack
+1
#2
It's about time they get to the bottom of this.

Trudeau better have some answers.
 
Mowich
Conservative
#3
Quote: Originally Posted by EagleSmack View Post

It's about time they get to the bottom of this.

Trudeau better have some answers.

Too bad the commissioner waited until Parliament recessed for the holidays - this would have made for some wonderful times during Question Period in the House.
 
EagleSmack
#4
Quote: Originally Posted by Mowich View Post

Too bad the commissioner waited until Parliament recessed for the holidays - this would have made for some wonderful times during Question Period in the House.

I am not surprised one bit.
 
Bar Sinister
No Party Affiliation
+2
#5  Top Rated Post
Good - Trudeau promised a higher ethical standard than the Conservatives. Hold him to his word and embarrass the hell out of him if he breaks it.
 
Curious Cdn
Conservative
+1
#6
I was listening to a Globe and Mail reporter today asking Trudeau point blank if he thought that it is right to charge lobbiests $1000 a plate, going to Liberal party coffers, for access to him and his ministers. Trudeau's answer was five minutes of circuitous gobbldy-gook baffle gab that did not answer the question.

He's sure learned the ropes. I suppose that he has a lot of great teachers about him, leftovers from the Chretien era. That he did not simply answer "no" bodes ill for his future and that of his party, which has previously come acropper by its illegal influence peddling ways.
 
Curious Cdn
Conservative
+1
#7
I was listening to a Globe and Mail reporter today asking Trudeau point blank if he thought that it is right to charge lobbiests $1000 a plate, going to Liberal party coffers, for access to him and his ministers. Trudeau's answer was five minutes of circuitous gobbldy-gook baffle gab that did not answer the question.

He's sure learned the ropes. I suppose that he has a lot of great teachers about him, leftovers from the Chretien era. That he did not simply answer "no" bodes ill for his future and that of his party, which has previously come acropper by its illegal influence peddling ways.
 
EagleSmack
+1
#8
Pay for play!
 
Mowich
Conservative
#9
Andrew Coyne: Sordid encounters of the Liberal kind

I believe the immortal words were first uttered by a guest at a London house party in the 1970s. Observed disappearing upstairs with another of the guests, she returned some time later, smoothing her dress, with the explanation that “the minister and I were just discussing Uganda.”

The phrase, “discussing Uganda,” has ever since been the British press’s preferred euphemism for sordid sexual encounters. Well now a new phrase may have entered the language, this time to describe a sordid encounter of another kind. It was given to us by the prime minister, in an effort to allay concerns over his reported serial dalliances with Chinese billionaires and other well-heeled contributors at those exclusive private fundraisers you may have been reading about, tickets to which sell for $1,500 apiece — the maximum allowable political contribution under federal law.

While it was true, Justin Trudeau acknowledged, that guests at these affairs often discussed government business with him, he did not discuss government business with them. Rather, his discussions with the ultrarich are strictly related to the many wonderful things his government is doing for the middle class.

“No matter where I am or who I am talking to,” he told the House of Commons Tuesday, “I always talk about the same thing: the fact that our priorities are to create economic growth for the middle class, by increasing taxes for the one per cent of the wealthiest so we are able to reduce them for the middle class. We point out that we stopped sending out child benefits to wealthy families so we can do more for the families who need it.”

So you see? We were just discussing the middle class. The wealthy host of a Nov. 7 fundraiser in West Vancouver, Miaofei Pan, may have used the occasion to discuss loosening federal restrictions on Chinese investment in the Canadian elderly care industry — coincidentally, just as a $1-billion bid from a Chinese insurance company for a B.C. retirement-home chain is under review — but that did not mean the prime minister discussed it with him.

Likewise in the case of a May 19 event at a Toronto home: while the insurance magnate Shenglin Xian, as a guest at the party, may have hoped to discuss federal approval for a new bank he had planned, if the prime minister is to be believed the discussions were focused, with monomaniacal precision, on the plight of the middle class.

This is a departure from previous Liberal explanations for the presence of ministers of the Crown at partisan fundraisers: that no law was broken, or that federal rules on political financing are the strictest in the country, or at any rate that should anyone be so gauche as to bring up government business at such an event, they are instantly set upon by strong men and bundled from the room. Or to more exactly quote the party’s former national director, they are “immediately directed to instead make an appointment with the relevant office.”

That explanation would now appear to be, as they say, inoperative. The prime minister’s version of events, as elucidated further in his year-end press conference, is rather that attendees do indeed discuss government business with him, but that this should raise no concerns because a) he talks with people even when they don’t give him money (“I and my entire government make ourselves extremely available to Canadians through a broad range of venues”), b) their contributions to the party have no influence on his thinking (“the decisions I take in government are ones based on what is right for Canadians”), not to mention this latest addition, c) he doesn’t even discuss with them what they are discussing with him. At all times, in all situations, they are simply discussing the middle class.

Now, none of these points remotely addresses the very clear principle laid down in the prime minister’s own instructions to ministers, which was not merely that “there should be no preferential access to government” given to contributors to the party, but that there should not even be the “appearance of preferential access.” The prime minister’s defence of his conduct would seem to be that how something appears to others is a matter of his own internal state of mind: if he himself does not believe there has been an exchange of preferential access for contributions to the Liberal party, neither will anyone else.

I am all for giving people the benefit of the doubt. But in the present instance it does require us to believe some very odd things. If the people who attend these parties were only interested in meeting the prime minister, they could do that, as he says, for free.

Conversely, if all they were interested in was contributing to the Liberal Party of Canada, they could just mail it a cheque. Somehow, it seems important to them to do both at the same time: meet the prime minister while contributing to the party. Yet, having plunked down their $1,500 in the expectation of an intimate and revealing tête-à-tête, they find themselves on the receiving end, by the prime minister’s own account, of nothing but a torrent of Liberal boilerplate about the middle class.

All I’m saying is, you’d think word would get around. “Yeah, about those ‘exclusive opportunities’ to party with Justin Trudeau? Save your money. Guy’s a crashing bore. It’s like he wasn’t even listening to us.” And yet, there seems no letup in the demand. The prime minister is as hot a ticket with the billionaire set as ever. Maybe they’ve been led to believe “discussing the middle class” is code for something saucier.

Andrew Coyne: Sordid encounters of the Liberal kind | National Post

 
Murphy
Conservative
+1
#10
I've been waiting to use this one.

 
EagleSmack
+1
#11
Who does Trudeau think he is... Hillary Clinton?

Amateur
 
Remington1
#12
No way he didn't know what he was doing, he must have thought himself impalpable. Lots' of negative in this new government. I had hoped that this government might help Canadians, but I was very wrong. I'm worried about our health care, which is stretched to the max.
 
Curious Cdn
Conservative
+2
#13
Quote: Originally Posted by Remington1 View Post

No way he didn't know what he was doing, he must have thought himself impalpable. Lots' of negative in this new government. I had hoped that this government might help Canadians, but I was very wrong. I'm worried about our health care, which is stretched to the max.

The Liberal Party is 100% about getting tbe Liberal Party elected. That has been their ideological basis since, I would say, Pierre Trudeau's first mandate.

Did Canada elect the Liberals last year or did we fire the Tories?

Yes, it does make a difference.
 
tay
+2
#14
Robert Fife and Steven Chase report (link is external) on Justin Trudeau's galling claim that in granting pay-for-play access to billionaires, he's not only avoiding being influenced personally, but taking wealthy donors' money to lobby them.


And Susan Delacourt sees (link is external) the cash-for-access system as a strong indication that the Libs haven't changed an iota from their history of backroom politics.




 
Mowich
Conservative
+2
#15
Sutcliffe: This Trudeau line would be hilarious if it weren't so arrogant

At his year-end news conference, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau repeated a boast he has used in the House of Commons: that his government consults Canadians widely and frequently, including at political fundraising events, listening deeply to their concerns. Then he said what he hears at Liberal fundraising events doesn’t influence his decisions; he always chooses what is best for Canada.
That would be a hilarious contradiction if it weren’t so arrogant.

Trudeau has many strengths and many Canadians find him appealing and relatable, especially for a politician. But his Achilles heel is his belief that he has a unique understanding of the hearts and minds of the people – observe how often he begins a sentence with the word “Canadians” – and is preternaturally above any kind of influence that would steer him away from their best interest.

Someone needs to remind him that no matter how indisputably awesome he is, he’s still human.

Unfortunately, Trudeau’s Liberals have fallen into the trap of thinking their motives matter when it comes to issues of ethics. They know they couldn’t possibly do anything wrong – that’s just not who they are – so it shouldn’t be of concern to anyone when they hold fundraisers that generate questions about conflicts of interest.

If anyone else did the same thing, of course, the Liberals would be screaming from the hilltops. But that’s because when other people step into dangerous ethical territory, there’s reason to be suspicious of their intentions. The Liberals know their own motives are pure and unimpeachable, so it’s impossible for them to be on the wrong side, legally or ethically.

It’s the same logic that some people employ when they are caught speaking or behaving in a racist or sexist manner. A familiar response is to claim that anyone who knows them well is aware that they are not racist or sexist. But intentions are irrelevant. Nobody starts out intending to be unethical; it’s actions, not motives, that matter.

What the Liberals, especially Trudeau, can’t seem to process is that you don’t avoid a conflict of interest by simply rising above it of your own moral will and making the right decision based on your unparalleled expertise and spotlessness. You avoid a conflict of interest by not allowing the situation in which it happens, like not accepting political donations from potential beneficiaries of government decisions, or not having your spouse set your salary. The conflict isn’t created only if the wrong decision is made, but when any decision is made under those circumstances.

Based on their answers in Question Period, the Liberals seem to think they’ve accomplished something by setting high ethical standards, as though establishing goals were of equal merit to achieving them. If they aren’t careful, they will soon tumble into another trap: justifying any behaviour that perpetuates their hold on power because they’re so indisputably good that anyone else by definition would be worse. Don’t quibble over ethics rules when you’re getting such great government, OK? Otherwise the bad guys might take over and do exactly what we’re doing but without being so cheerful about it. Canadians know they don’t want that.

Of course, when the Liberals see themselves as the good guys, it doesn’t feel like arrogance to them; instead, it’s simply a universal and irrefutable Canadian truth.

The Liberals originally justified their fundraising actions by saying they’re not breaking the law and not doing anything other parties haven’t done. But they managed to convince a large number of Canadians that they were going to be a different kind of government – real change! – and that is fundamental to their brand.

If they continue to consider only their wholesome motives and self-evident purity, the Liberals may convince themselves that they are still different from other politicians and only doing what’s best for Canadians. But with their defence against ethical breaches evolving from one false argument to another, they’ll have a much harder time convincing the public.

Trudeau and the Liberals think they’re too pure for ethical problems | Ottawa Citizen

Majority of Canadians surveyed object to Liberals’ cash-for-access fundraisers - The Globe and Mail

Bardish Chagger Says House Of Commons Isn't Place To Discuss Liberal Fundraisers

Bardish Chagger Downplays Suggestion Parliament Isn't Venue To Discuss Liberal Fundraisers


 
EagleSmack
#16
Are you sure he is not related to the Clintons?
 
Mowich
Conservative
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by EagleSmack View Post

Are you sure he is not related to the Clintons?

He wouldn't need to be, Eagle............this is completely typical of the liberal party here in Canada - they never change their stripes, no matter what year it is.
 
EagleSmack
+1
#18
Quote: Originally Posted by Mowich View Post

He wouldn't need to be, Eagle............this is completely typical of the liberal party here in Canada - they never change their stripes, no matter what year it is.

I am learning that.
 
Remington1
+1
#19
Well since the ethics commission is investigating, maybe they can throw in Morneau in the bag, unlike Trudeau he did not get his holdings funded, but his dinners with millionaire looking for government contracts is questionable. Too many faux pas, too quickly!! This speaks to this government's arrogance.
 
Cannuck
No Party Affiliation
#20
Shouldn't be difficult for the Conservatives to beat these guys. Just get a leader that isn't a tard and keep the social conservative quiet
 
Locutus
+1
#21
Oh, Shiny Librano!

By Kate on December 22, 2016 1:37 PM | 5 Comments



You say po-ta-to, they say pota-to-play...
As part of an ongoing review of fundraising activities by the Liberal Party of Canada, The Globe and Mail spoke with invitees who described requests that suggest significant discrepancies between official ticket prices and the actual cost of entry.


One businesswoman, who splits her time between China and Canada, told The Globe she was invited to a May fundraiser by Chinese Business Chamber of Canada chair Benson Wong - an event billed as an intimate evening at Mr. Wong's home with Justin Trudeau - at a cost of $4,500. She would only agree to be identified by her first name, Linda.
 
EagleSmack
#22
If you want to see the Little Potato... you need to buy a ticket!