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Democracy Watch’s Government Ethics Complaints and Court Cases from 2016 on

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A. Commissioner of Lobbying (Federal)

1. Complaints

(a) Complaint concerning various lobby groups giving the gift of “sponsored travel” to various MPs from all parties between 2009 and 2016 (filed May 26, 2016)

(b) Complaint about Apotex Chairman Barry Sherman helping organize a November 2016 fundraising event attended by Federal Liberal Finance Minister Bill Morneau (filed October 25, 2016)

(c) Complaint about Apotex Chairman Barry Sherman hosting a fundraising event in August 2015 attended by Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau (filed November 4, 2016)

(d) Complaint about Clearwater Seafoods shareholder and board member hosting a fundraising event in August 2014 attended by Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau (filed March 1, 2017)

(e) Complaint about Council of Canadian Innovators staff lobbying Global Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland after working on her 2015 federal election campaign (filed July 12, 2017)

(f) Complaint about the Aga Khan’s gift to PM Trudeau of two trips, and Liberal MP Seamus O’Regan of one trip, to his Bahamas island (filed December 20, 2017)

2. Court Cases

(a) Case challenging the appointment of new Lobbying Commissioner Nancy Bélanger because Trudeau Cabinet ministers were in a conflict of interest when they made the appointment. To support this case, click here

(b) Case challenging former Lobbying Commissioner Karen Shepherd’s ruling that the Aga Khan is not covered by the Lobbyists’ Code of Conduct and, therefore, his Bahamas trip gift to Prime Minister Trudeau was legal.


B. Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner (Federal)

1. Complaints

(a) Complaint about federal Cabinet ministers attending fundraising events organized by lobbyists (filed December 6, 2016)

(b) Complaint about the Liberal Cabinet reappointing the Ethics Commissioner for a second six-month term while she is investigating Prime Minister Trudeau and other Cabinet ministers (filed December 14, 2016)

(c) Complaint about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau inviting top Liberal Party donors to a gala dinner with the Chinese Premier (filed December 16, 2016)

(d) Complaint about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accepting the gift of a trip from the Aga Khan whose organization lobbies the federal government (filed February 8, 2017)

(e) Complaint about Conservative Party Interim Leader Rona Ambrose accepting the gift of a trip from the Murray Edwards whose company lobbies the federal government (filed February 8, 2017)

(f) Complaint about Liberal MP Seamus O’Regan accepting the gift of a trip from the Aga Khan whose organization lobbies the federal government (filed February 8, 2017)

(g) Complaint about some of former federal Minister of Justice Peter MacKay’s judicial appointments, including his appointment of Vic Toews (filed April 24, 2017)

(h) Complaint about federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s relationship with his Advisory Council on Economic Growth (filed May 8, 2017)

(i) Complaint about federal Cabinet’s relationship with BlackRock Asset Management Canada Ltd. (filed May 24, 2017)

(j) Complaint about Council of Canadian Innovators staff lobbying Global Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland after working on her 2015 federal election campaign (filed July 12, 2017)

2. Court Cases

(a) Case challenging Ethics Commissioner’s conflict of interest “screens” that she has set up for more than 20 Cabinet ministers and senior federal government officials. To support this case, click here.

(b) Case challenging the Ethics Commissioner’s ruling that Finance Minister Morneau didn’t have to sell his millions of shares in his family’s company. To support this case, click here.

(c) Case challenging the appointment of new Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion because Trudeau Cabinet ministers were in a conflict of interest when they made the appointment. To support this case, click here.


C. Conflict of Interest Commissioner (B.C.)

1. Complaints

(a) Complaint concerning conflicts of interest created by former B.C. Premier Christy Clark holding high-priced, exclusive fundraising events. The Commissioner rejected the complaint, and so Democracy Watch filed the court case linked below under 2(a).

2. Court Cases

(a) Case challenging Conflict of Interest Commissioner’s ruling that the fundraising events held by former B.C. Premier Christy Clark do not create apparent conflicts of interest (filed October 26, 2016). The B.C. Court of Appeal decided not to rule on the case on Oct. 18, 2017 — see details here.

(b) Case challenging former B.C. Premier Christy Clark’s approval of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline (filed January 31, 2017). The B.C. Supreme Court judge indicated he was going to rule against Democracy Watch and PIPE UP, and so the case was withdrawn in fall 2017.