Kurek: Ethics failures

Concern over potential violations

The Liberals are, yet again, embroiled in a corruption scandal.

Federal ethics commissioner Mario Dion is investigating the Prime Minister and the federal finance minister for ethics violations relating to the WE Charity situation. Recently, myself and three other members of the ethics committee brought forward a motion to investigate the matter further.

I was in Ottawa on July 17 as a member of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy, and Ethics for an emergency meeting.

Unsurprisingly, the Liberals used procedural tactics to delay the release of information that is key to understanding the full scope of this scandal.

Although the government used eloquent words to deflect blame, their intent was made clear when they clumsily tried to force closure in a way that was ruled out of order. Although the vote was delayed until we can organize the next committee meeting, the government members failed in their attempt to shut it down. We will be back to debate this in the coming weeks.

For background, on June 26, the Prime Minister and cabinet approved the administering of $912 million to WE Charity for the Canada Summer Student Grant. It was later revealed there may have been deep personal ties to the organization. These ties cast serious doubt on the reason why the government would make a decision that in many ways, simply didn’t make sense.

Considering those personal connections, the government should have allowed for an open tender or used the infrastructure that already exists with the Canada Summer Jobs Grant and followed the process to recuse themselves in making decisions where there is a conflict. But they failed the basic tests of accountability. Those actions and an admission of those mistakes cast suspicion on the integrity of our democratic institutions.

While Canada is dealing with a public health crisis and unprecedented economic turmoil, the Prime Minister has shown that he is willing to use the COVID-19 pandemic for personal gain. Canadians deserve better.

The Liberals have, once again, demonstrated a stunning lack of ethics on this, the way they are governing Canada, how they represent Canada on the world stage and their lack of regard for even the most rudimentary forms of accountability.

The reason why Parliament exists is so Canadians can hold their government to account. I am working diligently to ensure that happens. We will continue to demand the accountability you expect and hold them accountable.

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