Thank you, Madam Chair.
My question is for both witnesses, so they can each answer, beginning with Mr. MacDonald.
There's one thing in this whole affair that bothers me. When you run for office, you're telling Canadians that you're the best choice for them. Canadians are the ones who decide, but elected officials have a responsibility. That responsibility is even clearer at a ministerial level, because the decisions flow from the Prime Minister and ministers.
The Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister knew they had a conflict of interest. They admitted that they should have recused themselves. They admitted to their mistake. The finance minister even repaid more than $40,000 because the media got wind of the story and he felt obliged to do so. He has some responsibility.
What bothers me the most is that the Prime Minister pinned the blame on public servants. He said public servants advised him to make the decision he did. The Prime Minister seems to be forgetting that he is the one who should have made the decision. It was his responsibility. He is the one Canadians elected to make the tough decisions.
This wasn't a tough decision, in my view. I'll give you an example of a tough decision. When we sent the military into Afghanistan, we knew there would be fatalities. We voted to do so in the House, knowing that Canadians would die because of our decision. That's a tough decision. Refusing to recuse yourself when you know that your family is in a conflict of interest and that you, personally, may have a conflict of interest is not a tough decision. It's a judgment call.
Mr. MacDonald, did the Prime Minister deny his responsibility in the face of this easy decision?