Thank you, Madam Chair.
Thank you for being with us today, Mr. Conacher.
As we speak, ethics in Canada has taken a serious beating—anything having to do with conflicts of interest, apparent or real, involving members of Parliament, ministers, even the Prime Minister. As Canadians, we are looking for the safeguards, but few, if any, exist.
I'm going to tell you a little story about ethics. Fifty years ago, in my small municipality, the fellow who owned the local store became mayor. He sold the municipality a wheelbarrow and lost his job as mayor over $3.25. That's what you call ethical. Here we are, today, and the government is awarding $40-million or $50-million contracts. We are talking about the appearance of a conflict of interest. The word “appearance” is paramount, because what we're witnessing is the sponsorship scandal, version 2.0.
If members of our government can trade in favours to benefit their families, either directly or indirectly, what does that say to you, a long-time and well-placed observer of ethics? Where is Canada heading, in the face of something like this?