Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Conservative Ethics Hypocrisy - Liberal Newsletter

Copy of Liberal Party of Canada Newsletter.

Conservative Hypocrisy on Ethics Investigations

· A Conservative spokesperson has said they will not cooperate with the Ethics Commissioner’s investigation into Prime Minister Harper’s inducement of David Emerson to cross the floor for a cabinet position, claiming is just a “partisan attack” and that the Ethics Commissioner is a “Liberal appointee”

· Dr. Bernard Shapiro has no ties to the Liberal Party and his appointment was confirmed by a vote in the House of Commons pursuant to the provisions of the Ethics Bill (C-4).
· When Dr. Shapiro was questioned by a House committee before his nomination was confirmed, the Conservative members expressed no concern with his impartiality and qualifications and instead said he had a “very impressive” background. (Ken Epp, Committee Hansard, Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, April 26, 2004)
· The Conservatives asked Dr. Shapiro for, and received, a number of ethics investigations. We know how much outrage they would have expressed if the Liberal government had tried to dismiss these investigations as mere “partisan attacks”
· For Harper’s communications director to ask why Shapiro did not investigate Scott Brison’s joining the Liberal party is so nonsensical that only highlights what a desperate smokescreen it is. Shapiro only became ethics commissioner in April 2004, four full months after Brison joined the Liberal caucus. In light of the dissolution of the Progressive Conservative and Canadian Alliance parties, Brison decision to sit as a Liberal is not different that Harper’s own decision to rebrand himself a Conservative the very same month.
· It is also incorrect for the Conservative to claim that no financial benefit was offered to Mr. Emerson to entice him to cross the floor. Cabinet ministers are paid $213,500 or $69,200 more than a backbench MP. They also receive other financial benefits beyond the prestige and influence of the office, including a car and driver and a budget of almost $1 million for hiring political staff.
· The House of Commons conflict of interest code prohibits MPs from inducing another MP to take an action that would further their private interests. Is this why Mr. Harper does not want the Ethics Commissioner to investigate the Prime Minister’s actions regarding Mr. Emerson’s appointment to cabinet?

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