Opinion Column

All I want for Christmas is ethical scandals to end

 Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe

If I had a wish list for the federal government this Christmas, at the very top would be to see them reel in their ethical scandals.


Sure, they provide a lot of fodder that often make column-writing easier, but having little but criticism for the government isn’t ideal. As I’ve said before, regardless of political allegiance, no one wants to see any government in power fail; the hope is that they all will better the country.

I’m not convinced the current government is even trying.

Last Christmas, we saw Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take his family to the Bahamas for a holiday trip that cost taxpayers in excess of $215,000 and accepted a private helicopter flight, despite rules in place explicitly stating a prime minister is not to do so.

The Liberals brought forward changes to modernize the House of Commons, which included limiting debate, and scaling back how often the Prime Minister had to be in Question Period.

We’ve seen Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan accused of stolen valour following his claim he was the architect of Operation Medusa – a major assault on the Taliban in 2006. While he eventually expressed “regret,” it took some time before he did, and not once did Trudeau call him out for what was an exaggerated claim.

Over the summer, Finance Minister Bill Morneau released proposed changes to small business taxes, and had a shoddy consultation period where Canadians told him in more ways than one that they weren’t happy about them. He then implied Canadians were idiots who didn’t understand the changes. If that wasn’t bad enough on its own, it was revealed he failed to put his Morneau Shepell assets into a blind trust, and is under investigation for conflict of interest after putting forth a bill involving pensions that directly benefited his family company, as well as Morneau himself, who still owned shares.

He promised to give the share profits to charity, but chose the Toronto Foundation – a charity his wife sits on the board for. That doesn’t even include the fine he was given for not disclosing his French Villa, among other smaller scandals he’s been involved in.

More recently, Minister for Persons with Disabilities Kent Hehr has found himself in the limelight for being insensitive to a number of different groups across Canada.

Kim Davis, an activist from Nova Scotia, said that while Hehr was the minister of veterans affairs, she and her husband who suffers from chronic PTSD had spoken with him about expanding benefits available for families of deceased military personnel expanded to include families like theirs.

According to Davis, Hehr allegedly asked why her kids should have their education paid for through benefits when there’s tons of kids out there who don’t have theirs paid for, and also said “you married him. It’s your responsibility.” That’s just the latest after he apparently told thalidomide survivors that “everyone has a sob story,” and their shorter lifespan was good for the government. Not to mention the whole debacle where he allegedly used minister resources to aid in his father’s bid for a seat on Calgary’s school board.

As a cherry on top of the scandal sundae, they’ve rushed through a nomination process for a new ethics commissioner, announcing their pick Monday as Mario Dion. Those sitting on the ethics committee had but an hour meeting to decide if he was a suitable candidate, and each had just seven minutes to ask questions.

With the number of scandals the Liberals have had, especially involving ethics, you’d think they’d at least try to be non-partisan on the appointment of an ethics commissioner to save face. Instead, it’s looking like they’re just shoving him into the position last minute to be their toby, while the Dawson is still investigating Trudeau and several of his ministers for ethics violations.

I already have little confidence in faith in what the federal government is doing and their ethics scandals are dwindling any hope of that ever changing. 

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