June 17, 2024
The ethics commissioner faults the PM
Another ethics report patiently explains to the PM that he does, in fact, make decisions and they do, in fact, have consequences.
Another ethics report patiently explains to the PM that he does, in fact, make decisions and they do, in fact, have consequences.

When he was the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner, before his current job as Ethics Commissioner, Mario Dion came in for sharp criticism for “procedural delays” in his office. Dion was contrite, saying at the time, “I want to assure federal public servants that we are doing our utmost to make sure this does not happen again.”

Judging from his ruling Wednesday on Justin Trudeau’s behaviour in the SNC-Lavalin affair, Dion meant what he promised.

The timelines are breathtaking. We will get to more consequential matters, but take a look at how fast Dion has learned to move.

The NDP writes to Dion on Feb. 7, alleging a breach of Section 7 of the Conflict of Interest Act. He decides there’s been none—but decides on his own that Section 9 might apply, and writes to Trudeau’s office the next day demanding “all relevant documents.” The Prime Minister’s Office moves like molasses, taking seven weeks to deliver the first documents—and five more to deliver a written response from Trudeau. Dion interviews the prime minister the day after he gets Trudeau’s written response. He receives the final “supplemental written submissions” from Trudeau’s lawyers on July 16; he sends a written draft of his factual findings — the bulk of his final report — to the PMO three days later.

This may help explain why, after Trudeau announced on Tuesday of this week that he wouldn’t release a different report from former Liberal attorney general Anne McLellan until after Dion released his own report, Dion took less than a day to do so. The guy’s new motto seems to be “Why wait?”

There will be much speculation about the effect of this report, including the timing of its release, on the outcome of October’s election. I have no clue. You vote how you like.


See Also:

(1) Justin Trudeau should have kept his hands off SNC-Lavalin

(2) Stain only an election will wash away

(3) Trudeau insists he did nothing wrong in SNC-Lavalin scandal

(4) ‘What we have now is a clear picture of who Trudeau truly is’

(5) Read the full report: Watchdog finds Trudeau broke conflict of interest rules on SNC-Lavalin

(6) Ethics watchdog says he was denied access to evidence in SNC-Lavalin affair

(7) PM’s defence to ethics czar reveals his nasty political side

(8) What is the Shawcross Principle, the judicial doctrine that the ethics commissioner said Trudeau breached?

(9) Six things we learned about the SNC-Lavalin affair from the ethics report

(10) From surf clams to limousines, a not-so-comprehensive list of Liberal ethics complaints under Trudeau