Despite promising a “new kind of politics,” Justin Trudeau has run into many ethics problems.
His Cash-For-Access fundraisers with foreign billionaires, his trip to the Aga Khan’s private island, and refusing to answer a question posed in English in while in Quebec, are among the incidents that have eroded trust in Trudeau.
Now, it seems his MP’s are following in his footsteps and getting in on the act.
It is being reported that some trips made by Trudeau government MP’s may violate ethics rules, specifically the rules against outside organizations paying for MP’s travel.
In one case, the Trudeau Foundation itself paid for a government MP’s travel, raising whole new levels of conflict-of-interest problems.
The MP’s in question are Kamal Khera from Brampton, and Arif Virani from Toronto.
World Vision Canada paid $5,210.50 for Khera’s week-long trip to Tanzania in 2016.
Also in 2016, the Trudeau Foundation paid for Virani to go to the United Kingdom. That was reportedly the first time the Foundation had ever paid for an MP’s travel.
Both Khera and Virani are Parliamentary Secretaries, and that’s where the problem comes in: The rules clearly ban Parliamentary Secretaries from having their travel paid for by foreign organizations.
Harper introduced ban, and all members of the government followed it
According to Duff Conacher of the non-partisan organization Democracy Watch, all members of the Harper government adhered to the ban on parliamentary secretaries accepting foreign travel after the ban was put in place in 2011.
By contrast, members of the Trudeau government accepted what Conacher calls an “illegal gift” under the rules.
The problem is that the line between paying for a trip and bribing a government can seem quite thin, and the more companies and organizations think they can spend their way into the government’s good books, the less accountable our government will be.
Trudeau gutted accountability to get away with more
In early March, I reported on how Trudeau was leaving permanent government watchdog positions unfilled, leaving much weaker temporary replacements in those spots.
It was no coincidence that two of the spots Trudeau weakened just happen to be investigating him.
As we see another ethical cloud swirling around the Prime Minister, we can see why he was so eager to gut the accountability mechanisms to keep him in check.
The result is declining trust in our political institutions, as they are increasingly seen as tools enabling Trudeau’s unethical actions, rather than a system meant to work for Canadians.
Don’t expect any sort of consequences to come out of these ethics issues. Right now, the Ottawa deck has been stacked in favour of Justin Trudeau and his unethical approach to government.
Now, the only way Justin Trudeau will be held accountable is by making sure he loses big in 2019.