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Information & Ethics committee  It would have to be a decision made entirely by the public service without any participation at all by any ministers' staff, because first of all, according to Treasury Board's own policy and the federal government's own statement, ministerial staff act on behalf of ministers. Yo

August 10th, 2020Committee meeting

Duff Conacher

Information & Ethics committee  On ethics laws and also in terms of breaking open government promises, the Liberals rate an F in both cases, for sure. It's been a complete failure. He sent a great letter to ministers with great talk in terms of saying that they have to meet the highest ethical standards that wi

August 10th, 2020Committee meeting

Duff Conacher

Information & Ethics committee  I'd say, unfortunately, not very much at all is working, although there was one improvement made by the new Ethics Commissioner, Mario Dion. The old Ethics Commissioner, whom you will be hearing from later today, Mary Dawson, had ruled, although it doesn't say this in the Conflic

August 10th, 2020Committee meeting

Duff Conacher

Information & Ethics committee  Parliament is sovereign and this is the ethics committee. I think a partisan committee, made up of MPs who are partisan, is not the best forum, because the questions tend to be driven by partisan motives as opposed to the rules and the evidence, but Parliament has a right to all

August 10th, 2020Committee meeting

Duff Conacher

Information & Ethics committee  Thank you for your question. As I mentioned in my testimony, there are loopholes in the Financial Administration Act and the related regulations that allow for sole-source contracting. I think this process was a failure also of the public service. As many experts have pointed ou

August 10th, 2020Committee meeting

Duff Conacher

Information & Ethics committee  I mentioned in my testimony that I think the key thing to do is to require everyone to check with the Auditor General in advance when starting any significant spending process. The Auditor General could then do a quick check and say, wait a second, you've decided to do this as a

August 10th, 2020Committee meeting

Duff Conacher

Information & Ethics committee  Given the amount of money.... One of the sole-source loopholes is if a contract is less than $25,000. You can see why. It's a small amount of money and some of the safeguards may not need to be in place. Although, again, I think you should just essentially ban and put in place hi

August 10th, 2020Committee meeting

Duff Conacher

Information & Ethics committee  No, I have not seen that since 1993 when Democracy Watch started up.

August 10th, 2020Committee meeting

Duff Conacher

Information & Ethics committee  Are you talking about the “Trudeau II Report” with regard to SNC-Lavalin scandal or “The Trudeau Report” with regard to the Aga Khan?

August 10th, 2020Committee meeting

Duff Conacher

Information & Ethics committee  Well, the main one is that there's a loophole in the gifts rule for cabinet ministers: if it's a gift from a friend or family member, the gift is legal. Former ethics commissioner Mary Dawson interpreted that rule...in a way, you could say, taking into account the purpose of the

August 10th, 2020Committee meeting

Duff Conacher

Information & Ethics committee  Again, I think if your staff are acting on your behalf...of the top government officials, which cabinet appoints and which, unfortunately, makes the top level of the public service partisan, because they're all serving at the pleasure of the cabinet. If those people are acting on

August 10th, 2020Committee meeting

Duff Conacher

Information & Ethics committee  First of all, I would point to how, as I mentioned, the lowest-level government employee can be fired from their job if they're involved in a decision where they have even the appearance of a conflict of interest, even if the decision applies generally. Again, 99% of cabinet mini

August 10th, 2020Committee meeting

Duff Conacher

Information & Ethics committee  In that particular situation, it's possible that Minister Morneau thought he paid for that entire trip, for those two trips by his family, and that his family paid the entire amount, because they did pay $52,000. But I will not believe that claim until I see the entire communicat

August 10th, 2020Committee meeting

Duff Conacher

Information & Ethics committee  Well, very unfortunately, it's not getting better. As I mentioned, I've been before this committee 15 times, and other committees, as well, on related issues, such as whistle-blower protection. The Harper Conservatives made some changes, but specifically, the Conflict of Interest

August 10th, 2020Committee meeting

Duff Conacher

Information & Ethics committee  Well, we can. We can certainly change the rules first and increase the penalties and enforcement, and together those three things will hopefully change the culture and drum out those people through transparency, whether they be politicians, government officials, appointees, lobby

August 10th, 2020Committee meeting

Duff Conacher