This week an unusual event occurred as the Ethics Committee convened in Ottawa to vote on calling Federal Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion to appear before the committee in relation to the his recent ethics report that concluded:
“The Prime Minister, directly and through his senior officials, used various means to exert influence over Ms. (Jody) Wilson-Raybould. The authority of the Prime Minister and his office was used to circumvent, undermine and ultimately attempt to discredit the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions as well as the authority of Ms. Wilson-Raybould as the Crown’s chief law officer.”
At this ethics committee meeting Green party leader Elizabeth May stated: “This is really scandalous, the prime minister is guilty here of the kind of offense in which resignation is appropriate.”
She also clarified that she was not making a direct request for a resignation.
Despite the Green party, NDP, Conservatives and even one Liberal MP voting for the ethics commissioner to appear as a witness at the committee, the Liberal majority blocked this from occurring.
The fact that a non-partisan, independent officer, who was appointed by the prime minister, is now blocked by the Liberal majority from appearing at an all-party Parliamentary committee is deeply troubling and raises serious concerns.
We know that the Ethics Commissioner has publicly stated that he was also blocked from receiving required information to view “the entire body of evidence” when preparing his latest report.
We also know that claims from the Trudeau Liberals that the improper pressure applied to the former Attorney General was “all about jobs” is patently false.
The report from Dion, titled “Trudeau II,” confirmed that Finance Minister Bill Morneau admitted that no study was ever undertaken to validate any potential job losses that have been repeatedly claimed by the government.
It also known that while Trudeau has stated publicly that the “buck stops with him”, the report reveals privately that:
“Mr. Trudeau’s counsel argued that even if his ministerial staff and the Clerk of the Privy Council act on behalf of the Prime Minister when engaging with other ministers or their representatives, Mr. Trudeau cannot be vicariously liable for the actions of his staff…”
This suggests that if whatever information the ethics commissioner has been denied by government officials becomes public, the prime minister could potentially attempt to place blame on his staff.
In other words, this smells like a cover-up.
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My question for this week: Does the Liberals blocking ethics commissioner Mario Dion from appearing before the ethics committee concern you?
I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.
Dan Albas is member of Parliament for Central Okanagan Similkameen Nicola and member of the Conservative caucus. This column runs weekly.