It’s been a bad year for the Conservatives. Five members of the government’s caucus have left while under investigation or facing outright charges. These five have something else in common: they were all appointed or promoted by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
After eight long years in power, this record raises unsettling questions about the judgement of our Prime Minister.
Let’s consider the facts. Mr. Harper rode into office promising an accountable and ethical government. Yet just last month he re-appointed MP Dean Del Mastro to a senior position as a Parliamentary Secretary, a mere week before he was charged with four violations under the Elections Act. Mr. Harper kept MP Peter Penashue in his cabinet while under investigation for similar elections violations before he was forced out.
Mr. Harper appointed Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau to the Senate, all of whom are under investigation by the RCMP and were found to have claimed inappropriate expenses in the Deloitte audit.
And this list just starts to scratch the surface. It’s clear that the Conservatives believe there is one set of rules for them, and one set of rules for everyone else.
It doesn’t have to be that way. The Liberal Party believes that politicians should be held to higher standards. This fall our caucus members will begin posting all their expenses online every quarter. The records will be searchable and comparable so that anyone can understand them. We hope this will be the first step of a cascade of transparency and openness as the other parties try to outdo each other.
Let’s try to raise the bar on government ethics—not keep turning a blind eye for our friends like Mr. Harper.
Liberal Party of Canada Ethics Critic
Submitting Letters to the Editor
Please include your program and year of study, or, if staff, your position. Letters for which verification of authorization cannot be made will not be published. Letters must be emailed to the Opinions Editor. Letters should not exceed 500 words. Letters may be edited for length, spelling and grammar. The editor will take care not to change the writer’s intent or tone. Published letters include the writer’s name. Exceptions will be made rarely and only when the editorial board determines the subject matter might place the writer in jeopardy, and the subject matter is important enough to justify withholding of the name. The Brock Press will not publish letters that are personal attacks or are potentially libellous.
The Press reserves the right not to publish any letter.
The editorial board may decide to limit the number of letters a single writer can have published each semester as long as the limitation is applied equally to all letter writers.