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Democracy Watch requests that new Ethics Commissioner not make any decisions affecting Liberals because of bias

Trudeau Cabinet put new Ethics Commissioner in a conflict of interest by handpicking him through a secretive, PMO-controlled process that failed to consult with opposition parties as required – DWatch sent similar letter last week to new Lobbying Commissioner who was also handpicked by Cabinet

New Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion also has a negligently weak enforcement record that makes him unfit for the job

More than 11,000 Canadians have called for key changes to make the Cabinet appointment process actually open, independent and merit-based

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, January 30, 2018

OTTAWA – Democracy Watch released the letter it sent today to new federal Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion requesting that he not make any decisions concerning investigations of situations involving the Trudeau Cabinet or Liberals because the Cabinet created a conflict of interest for him by handpicking him through a secretive, PMO-controlled process. As well, the Cabinet failed to consult with opposition party leaders before making his appointment as required by the Parliament of Canada Act.

As a result, Commissioner Dion has an appearance of bias that taints any decision he may make, including decisions he may make about Bill Morneau’s involvement in discussions and decisions concerning Bill C-27. It is not known how many other current situations the Ethics Commissioner is investigating that involve the Trudeau Cabinet or Liberals.

On January 25th, Democracy Watch sent a similar letter to new Lobbying Commissioner Nancy Bélanger, who that same day sent a decision to Democracy Watch stating that she was ending the investigations into both fundraising events for the Liberals that Barry Sherman was involved in because Mr. Sherman passed away recently. Because of her bias, and also because her decision is legally incorrect, Democracy Watch will soon file court cases challenging the Commissioner’s decisions.

On January 15th, Democracy Watch filed an application in Federal Court challenging the appointment of the new Lobbying Commissioner by the Trudeau Cabinet because of the failure to consult with opposition party leaders, and because the Cabinet was in a conflict of interest as the Ethics Commissioner was investigating situations involving Prime Minister Trudeau and other Cabinet ministers at the time the appointment was made.

To allow the investigations into Democracy Watch’s complaints to continue, Democracy Watch proposes that Ethics Commissioner Dion delegate the situations to a provincial commissioner who is independent of her, the Trudeau Cabinet, and all federal political parties. This process has been used at the provincial level by ethics commissioners. For example, in 2016 Marguerite Trussler, Alberta’s Ethics Commissioner, recused herself from investigating and ruling on a complaint because she was friends with two people involved in the matter.

“The Trudeau Cabinet put the new Ethics Commissioner in a conflict of interest by handpicking him through a secretive, PMO-controlled process, and as a result the Commissioner is tainted by bias and must not rule on any situations involving the Trudeau Cabinet or Liberals,” said Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch and Adjunct Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of Ottawa.

“It would be a clear conflict of interest if someone sued Prime Minister Trudeau or a Cabinet minister and the Cabinet chose which judge would hear the case, and it is just as clearly a conflict of interest for the Cabinet to choose the new Ethics Commissioner when he is judging whether the PM and other Cabinet ministers are involved in illegal situations,” said Conacher.

In addition, Ethics Commissioner Dion has a record of eight unethical and questionable actions in his previous position as Integrity Commissioner – a record that makes him unfit for the position of Ethics Commissioner.

More than 11,000 Canadians have signed a petition supporting Democracy Watch’s Stop Bad Government Appointments Campaign calling on federal parties to work together to change the appointment process for all officers of Parliament and judicial and watchdog positions, to make it actually merit-based and independent from Cabinet, and to prohibit reappointments.

For many appointments, including of the new Ethics Commissioner and Lobbying Commissioner, the Trudeau Cabinet continues to use the same secretive, PMO-controlled, partisan process that past governments used.

– 30 –

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch
and Chairperson of the Government Ethics Coalition
Tel: (613) 241-5179
Cell: 416-546-3443
info@democracywatch.ca

Democracy Watch’s Stop Bad Government Appointments Campaign and Government Ethics Campaign

Bill C-65 just nice words on paper – to actually protect workers Trudeau government needs to implement House Committee recommendations to strengthen protection of all workers in federal politics, and also extend protection to whistleblowers who work in federal businesses

Treasury Board minister Scott Brison’s letter in October rejected the House Committee’s recommendations – and Bill C-65 doesn’t change Canada Labour Code requirement that everyone complain, unprotected, to their boss

Public Sector Integrity Commissioner Joe Friday should be fired as he has been found guilty three times by Federal Court of violating whistleblowers rights

Governments across Canada need to make all the changes needed to ensure government and business whistleblowers are fully protected, as banking and airline scandals show

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Monday, January 29, 2018

OTTAWA – Today, Democracy Watch called on the federal Liberals to make the protections from harassment and assault in Bill C-65 actually effective by extending whistleblower protection to all federal workplaces, including Parliament. Bill C-65 does nothing to change the Canada Labour Code’s requirement that federal workplace victims file complaints with their boss, who is often the harasser.

As some commentators have pointed out, the federal House of Commons and Senate harassment complaint systems are secretive and rigged in favour of covering up wrongdoing.

Last June’s report released by the House of Commons Government Operations Committee called for many key changes to change the law and enforcement system to strengthen protection for whistleblowers who report wrongdoing by people in the federal government. However, Treasury Board Minister Scott Brison rejected the Committee’s recommendations in an October letter – committing the government only to reinforcing the internal disclosure process.

Democracy Watch appeared before the Committee twice, and its submission included the Change.org petition that more than 21,000 voters signed calling for 17 key changes by the federal government to protect people who blow the whistle on government and big business abuse, waste and law-breaking. As the current banking service scandal and airline service scandals show, such protection is much needed.

“The committee unanimously recommended many key changes to strengthen protection for people who blow the whistle on wrongdoing in the federal government but the Trudeau Liberals rejected the recommendations and continue to let people in federal politics who do wrong threaten and attack people who try to disclose their wrongdoing,” said Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch. “The committee, public sector unions and citizen watchdog groups are unanimously calling for key changes to strengthen whistleblower protection, as are tens of thousands of voters who have signed a national petition, so there is no reason for the Liberals to delay making these changes, including to Bill C-65.”

Democracy Watch also called on Parliament to fire Public Sector Integrity Commissioner Joe Friday who, for the third time, was found guilty in December by the Federal Court of violating a whistleblower’s rights.

“The federal Liberals claimed in their 2015 election platform that greater openness and transparency are fundamental to restoring trust in Canada’s democracy but if they don’t strengthen whistleblower protection and use an independent process to appoint a new, effective Integrity Commissioner, they will break their open government promise,” said Conacher.

“Unfortunately, the committee did not recommend any changes to strengthen protection for whistleblowers who work for federal politicians or for businesses that are regulated by the federal government, and the Liberals also need to make those changes to help stop the widespread, serious wrongdoing and abuse caused by politicians and people in Canada’s big banks and other financial institutions, and in airlines, phone, cable TV, food, mining and forestry companies,” said Conacher.

The key changes the Committee recommended include: ensuring everyone involved in federal government operations is covered by the protection law and system (including anyone who helps a whistleblower or is a witness); allowing everyone to file their complaint about retaliation directly with the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Tribunal (instead of having to go to the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner first) up to 12 months after the retaliation (the current deadline is 60 days); requiring the employer to prove that they didn’t retaliate against a whistleblower (currently the whistleblower has to prove retaliation has occurred); ensuring the Integrity Commissioner is fully independently appointed and empowered to impose penalties; requiring the Integrity Commissioner rule on all complaints publicly in a timely manner, and to report more details about complaint handling; requiring the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer to conduct regular audits of the whole protection system and; empowering the Integrity Commissioner and Tribunal to compensate whistleblowers for legal advice, and rewarding them adequately if their claims are proven.

“The committee should have also recommended requiring disclosure of the identity of all wrongdoers because the public has a right to know when one of their government’s employees does wrong,” said Conacher.

People have tried to protect Canadians by blowing the whistle on governments wasting billions of dollars, approving dangerous drugs, and covering up scandals, and on big businesses gouging them, selling them hazardous products, and covering up pollution and oil spills.

These whistleblowers have been harassed, fired from their jobs, sued, silenced and hurt by governments and big businesses – all because Canadian whistleblower protection laws are weak and enforcement is negligently bad.

The federal Liberals failed to include any promises to strengthen whistleblower protection in their 2015 election platform. The federal Conservatives did little to strengthen whistleblower protection from 2006 to 2015, and actually covered up scandals involving the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner (who enforces the federal law). Other federal parties have done little to push for key changes.

Provincial governments across Canada have also failed to protect government and business whistleblowers fully and effectively, although the Ontario Securities Commission took a big step forward in protecting securities law whistleblowers with a new program launched in July 2016 which offers up to $5 million as a reward for whistleblowers whose claims are proven (which has led to calls to reward securities law whistleblowers in other provinces and to reward Competition Act whistleblowers).

Democracy Watch will continue its ProtectWhistleblowers.ca letter-writing campaign and petition until these changes are made across Canada.

– 30 –

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch
Tel: 613-241-5179 Cell: 416-546-3443
info@democracywatch.ca

Democracy Watch’s Protect Whistleblowers Who Protect You Campaign

 

Democracy Watch requests that new Lobbying Commissioner not make any decisions affecting Liberals because of bias

Prime Minister Trudeau and his Cabinet put new Lobbying Commissioner in a conflict of interest by handpicking her through a secretive, PMO-controlled process that failed to consult with opposition parties as required

More than 11,000 Canadians have called for key changes to make the Cabinet appointment process actually open, independent and merit-based

NOTE: This morning, the new Lobbying Commissioner Nancy Bélanger sent Democracy Watch a letter stating that she will not continue the investigations into its complaints about two fundraising events for the Liberal Party of Canada that Barry Sherman, former Chair of Apotex Inc. was involved in organizing and hosting. This is exactly the kind of decision that a biased Lobbying Commissioner would make as it is exactly the decision the Trudeau Liberal Cabinet would want. Democracy Watch will challenge Commissioner Bélanger’s decisions in court on the basis that she is biased and her decisions are legally incorrect.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, January 25, 2018

OTTAWA – Democracy Watch released the letter it sent today to new federal Lobbying Commissioner Nancy Bélanger requesting that she not make any decisions concerning investigations of situations involving the Trudeau Cabinet or Liberals because the Cabinet created a conflict of interest for her by handpicking her through a secretive, PMO-controlled process. As well, the Cabinet failed to consult with opposition party leaders before making her appointment as required by the Lobbying Act.

As a result, Commissioner Bélanger has an appearance of bias that taints any decision she may make, including the decision she has stated she will make by February 2nd about whether she will continue the investigation into Democracy Watch’s complaint alleging that Barry Sherman, Chair of Apotex until he passed away recently, violated rules in the Lobbyists Code of Conduct by hosting an August 2015 fundraising event at his home that Justin Trudeau attended.

In addition to the Barry Sherman/Apotex fundraising event complaint, the office of the Commissioner of Lobbying is investigating four other Democracy Watch complaints about situations involving Prime Minister Trudeau or other Cabinet ministers (See the five situations summarized under A.1 here). Democracy Watch’s letter requests that Commissioner Bélanger not make any decisions concerning any of the five situations or any other situation involving the Trudeau Cabinet or Liberals.

On January 15th, Democracy Watch filed an application in Federal Court challenging the appointment of the new Lobbying Commissioner by the Trudeau Cabinet because of the failure to consult with opposition party leaders, and because the Cabinet was in a conflict of interest as the office of the Lobbying Commissioner was investigating situations involving Prime Minister Trudeau and other Cabinet ministers at the time the appointment was made.

To allow the investigations into Democracy Watch’s complaints to continue, Democracy Watch proposes that Commissioner Bélanger delegate the situations to a provincial commissioner who is independent of her, the Trudeau Cabinet, and all federal political parties. This process has been used at the provincial level by ethics commissioners. For example, in 2016 Marguerite Trussler, Alberta’s Ethics Commissioner, recused herself from investigating and ruling on a complaint because she was friends with two people involved in the matter.

“The Trudeau Cabinet put the new Lobbying Commissioner in a conflict of interest by handpicking her through a secretive, PMO-controlled process, and as a result the Commissioner is tainted by bias and must not rule on any situations involving the Trudeau Cabinet or Liberals,” said Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch and Adjunct Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of Ottawa.

“It would be a clear conflict of interest if someone sued Prime Minister Trudeau or a Cabinet minister and the Cabinet chose which judge would hear the case, and it is just as clearly a conflict of interest for the Cabinet to choose the new Lobbying Commissioner when she is judging whether the PM and other Cabinet ministers are involved in illegal situations,” said Conacher.

More than 11,000 Canadians have signed a petition supporting Democracy Watch’s Stop Bad Government Appointments Campaign calling on federal parties to work together to change the appointment process for all officers of Parliament and judicial and watchdog positions, to make it actually merit-based and independent from Cabinet, and to prohibit reappointments.

For many appointments, including of the new Ethics Commissioner and Lobbying Commissioner, the Trudeau Cabinet continues to use the same secretive, PMO-controlled, partisan process that past governments used.

– 30 –

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch
and Chairperson of the Government Ethics Coalition
Tel: (613) 241-5179
Cell: 416-546-3443
info@democracywatch.ca

Democracy Watch’s Stop Bad Government Appointments Campaign and Government Ethics Campaign

As PM heads to World Economic Forum, 24,000+ call on federal Liberals to make big businesses and banks pay their fair share

Key changes also needed to stop Big Bank gouging and abuse – Canada’s Big 6 Banks made a record profit of $42.3 billion in 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Monday, January 22, 2018

Today, as Prime Minister Trudeau heads to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Democracy Watch revealed that more than 24,000 voters from across Canada have signed its national petition on Change.org calling for key changes to make Canada’s big businesses and Big Banks pay their fair share of taxes.

A special report recently published in the Toronto Star details how Canadian big businesses, especially the Big Banks, have higher profits but pay a lower rate of taxes than ever before.

“Like Scrooge, Canada’s big businesses and banks are trying to keep all the money for themselves, and key changes are needed to close loopholes and match the average tax rate in G7 countries to ensure they pay their fair share of taxes,” said Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch. “As well, Canada’s big banks have gouged their way to record profits again this year, and key changes are needed to stop the gouging and ensure they serve all customers fairly at fair prices.”

In 2016, big businesses paid only 22% of total taxes collected by governments — Canadians paid 78%. In contrast, in 1952 big businesses and Canadians paid the same amount in taxes.

As the report says: “Canada’s largest corporations use complex techniques and tax loopholes to reduce their taxes significantly below the official corporate tax rate set by the government.”

As well, the report details how cutting Canada’s corporate tax rate by 16% from 1997 to 2016 has not increased corporate investment in machinery and equipment and in intellectual property like it was supposed to do. Investments by Canada’s big businesses in these areas are still below the 1997 level as a percentage of GDP.

Canada’s official corporate tax rate is now 26.6% but, on average, Canadian big businesses paid only 17.7% from 2011-2016 — one of the lowest rates of all G7 countries.

Canada’s Big Banks paid a tax rate of only 16% over the past 6 years — lower than banks in other G7 countries. They are the biggest tax evaders of all Canadian big businesses and, not surprisingly, also the most profitable. They made a record $42.3 billion in profits in 2017.

If Canada’s big businesses and banks paid the official tax rate from 2011-2016, governments across Canada would have almost $64 billion more to spend on making hospitals, schools, housing, public transit and roads better, and on other things Canadians need.

Making Canada’s big businesses and banks pay their fair share in taxes will raise at least $10 billion each year, and billions more if the corporate tax rate is increased to the average rate in G7 countries.

The petition calls on Liberal Finance Minister Morneau to work with federal political parties to work together to make the following three key changes:

  1. Close all the loopholes that allow Canada’s big businesses and banks to evade paying taxes in Canada by pretending they make their money through companies they own in low-tax countries;
  2. Increase Canada’s business tax rate to match the average rate in G7 countries, and;
  3. Impose a special tax (like England and Australia have) on any Canadian business or bank that has excessively high profits like Canada’s Big Banks have had in the past several years.

Democracy Watch is also calling on Finance Minister Morneau to work with federal political parties to make key changes to stop gouging and abuse by Canada’s big banks. The Big Six Banks made a record $42.3 billion profit in 2017.

As the report also shows, most Canadians don’t benefit from excessive Big Bank profits because they don’t own shares in the banks. As the report says: “more than 80 per cent of Canadian stocks are owned (both directly and indirectly through pensions and mutual funds) by foreigners and the wealthiest households in the country.”

As well, the report reveals that Canada’s Big Banks donate to charities only 10% of what they avoid in taxes – only $2.1 billion donated compared to $23 billion in taxes avoided.

– 30 –

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch
Tel: (613) 241-5179
Cell: 416-546-3443
info@democracywatch.ca

Democracy Watch’s Bank Accountability Campaign and Corporate Responsibility Campaign

Democracy Watch files lawsuits challenging Trudeau Cabinet’s appointments of new Ethics Commissioner and Lobbying Commissioner

Cases ask Federal Court to overturn the appointments because of Prime Minister’s and Cabinet’s conflicts of interest, and failure to consult with opposition parties

More than 11,000 Canadians have called for key changes to make the Cabinet appointment process actually open, independent and merit-based

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, January 18, 2018

OTTAWA – Today, Democracy Watch released details about the lawsuits it filed on Monday in the Federal Court challenging the Trudeau Cabinet’s appointments in December of the new Ethics Commissioner and new Lobbying Commissioner.  For both cases, Democracy Watch is represented by Sebastian Spano.

Both cases ask the court to overturn the appointments because the Cabinet failed to consult with opposition party leaders as required by the Parliament of Canada Act before making the Ethics Commissioner appointment, and also failing to consult as required by the Lobbying Act before making the Lobbying Commissioner appointment.

As well, each of the commissioners’ offices was investigating at least four situations involving Prime Minister Trudeau or other Cabinet ministers when the appointments were made, which means the entire Cabinet was biased and in a conflict of interest because they were choosing people who would judge whether Trudeau or other ministers were involved in situations that could give rise to findings that they were in breach of the Conflict of Interest Act.  The Conflict of Interest Act and PM Trudeau’s code for ministers prohibit ministers from taking part in decisions when they have an opportunity to further their own interests or improperly further another person’s private interests.

“The Trudeau Cabinet failed to consult with opposition party leaders, as required by law, before appointing the new Ethics Commissioner and Lobbying Commissioner, and both commissioners were investigating situations involving Trudeau or other ministers so the Cabinet had a clear conflict of interest when making the appointments of these key democracy watchdogs,” said Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch and Adjunct Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of Ottawa. “Given it is essential that ethics and lobbying watchdogs are independent and impartial, Democracy Watch hopes the court will overturn both appointments and establish high standards to prevent conflicts of interest, and also require meaningful consultation with opposition parties, for all future watchdog appointments.”

“It would be a clear conflict of interest if someone sued Prime Minister Trudeau or a Cabinet minister and the Cabinet chose which judge would hear the case, and it is just as clearly a conflict of interest for the Cabinet to choose the new Ethics Commissioner and Lobbying Commissioner when both are judging whether the PM and other Cabinet ministers are involved in illegal situations,” said Conacher.  “Given both opposition parties complained about the Trudeau Cabinet failing to consult with them before making both appointments, it’s clear the Cabinet failed to consult as required by the laws that set out the rules for the appointments.”

More than 11,000 Canadians have signed a petition supporting Democracy Watch’s Stop Bad Government Appointments Campaign calling on federal parties to work together to change the appointment process for the Ethics Commissioner, and all officers of Parliament and judicial and watchdog positions, to make it actually merit-based and independent from Cabinet, and to prohibit reappointments.

For many appointments, including of the new Ethics Commissioner and Lobbying Commissioner, the Trudeau Cabinet continues to use the same secretive, PMO-controlled, partisan process that past governments used.

At the time of the December 14th Cabinet appointment of Mario Dion as the new Ethics Commissioner, the Ethics Commissioner’s office was investigating at least four situations involving PM Trudeau or other Cabinet ministers, as follows:

  1. the Aga Khan’s Bahamas trip gift to PM Trudeau;
  2. Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s sale of shares in his family’s company in December 2015;
  3. Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s involvement in Bill C-27 that affects the pension industry, in response to complaints filed by NDP MP Nathan Cullen and Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre.
  4. Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s failure to disclose publicly when he had recused himself from decision-making processes because of conflicts of interest, in response to Democracy Watch’s complaint.

At the time of the December 14th Cabinet appointment of Nancy Bélanger as the new Lobbying Commissioner, the Lobbying Commissioner’s office was investigating at least four situations involving PM Trudeau or other Cabinet ministers, as follows:

  1. the investigation of Democracy Watch’s complaint about an August 26, 2015 fundraising event attended by Justin Trudeau and hosted by Apotex Inc. chairman Barry Sherman (Apotex lobbies the PMO);
  2. the investigation of Democracy Watch’s complaint about an August 25, 2014 fundraising event attended by Justin Trudeau hosted by a Clearwater Seafoods co-founder and board member (Clearwater lobbies the PMO);
  3. the investigation of Democracy Watch’s complaint about the situation revealed in an October 25th Globe and Mail article involving Apotex Inc. chairman Barry Sherman who assisted with selling tickets for a fundraising event that Finance Minister Bill Morneau attended (Apotex lobbies Finance Canada), and;
  4. the investigation of Democracy Watch’s complaint about Council of Canadian Innovators staff lobbying Global Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland after working on her 2015 federal election campaign.

On December 20th, Democracy Watch also filed a complaint with the Lobbying Commissioner about the Aga Khan’s gift to PM Trudeau of two trips, and to Liberal MP Seamus O’Regan of one trip, to his Bahamas island.

It is possible that the Ethics Commissioner and Lobbying Commissioner were investigating more situations involving the PM or other Cabinet ministers at the time of the appointment – it is difficult to tell because commissioners don’t disclose this information until their 2017-2018 annual reports are disclosed. The Ethics Commissioner’s 2016-2017 annual report says that the Aga Khan gift investigation was the only one continuing from last year.  The Lobbying Commissioner’s 2016-2017 annual report doesn’t clearly disclose how many cases were carried over from last year but Democracy Watch requested the information and the Commissioner confirmed that 23 initial investigations, and 7 full investigations, were underway as of March 31, 2017.

Democracy Watch’s cases have implications for the ongoing search for, and appointment of, the next federal Information Commissioner, as the Access to Information Act also requires consultation with opposition party leaders before the appointment.  The cases will not affect the search for, and appointment of, the new Chief Electoral Officer or new RCMP Commissioner, as those positions do not require consultation with opposition parties before the appointment is made.

In contrast to the secretive, PMO-controlled, partisan process the Trudeau Cabinet used to choose the new Ethics Commissioner and Lobbying Commissioner, the Cabinet established a committee of government officials and representatives from non-governmental organizations to search for the next RCMP Commissioner.  The government calls the committee “independent” but it really isn’t as all the committee members were chosen by Cabinet, however at least the committee has non-governmental members and will come up with a short list of three to five candidates from which, it seems, the Cabinet must choose the next RCMP Commissioner.

Democracy Watch has another ongoing lawsuit challenging the Ethics Commissioner’s “conflict of interest screens” because they are illegal under the Conflict of Interest Act.  The screens are really smokescreens that hide the fact that Cabinet ministers and top government officials take part in almost all discussions and decisions even if they have a financial interest and could profit from the decision.

Democracy Watch also has another ongoing lawsuit challenging the Ethics Commissioner’s ruling that Bill Morneau didn’t have to sell his shares in his family’s company when he became Finance Minister.

– 30 –

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch
and Chairperson of the Government Ethics Coalition
Tel: (613) 241-5179
Cell: 416-546-3443
info@democracywatch.ca

Democracy Watch’s Stop Bad Government Appointments Campaign and Government Ethics Campaign

10,000+ sign petition calling on Finance Minister Morneau to make key changes to make big businesses and banks pay their fair share of taxes

Key changes also needed to stop Big Bank gouging and abuse – Canada’s Big 6 Banks made a record profit of $42.3 billion in 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Today, Democracy Watch revealed that more than 10,000 voters from across Canada have signed its national petition on Change.org calling for key changes to make Canada’s big businesses and Big Banks pay their fair share of taxes.

A special report recently published in the Toronto Star details how Canadian big businesses, especially the Big Banks, have higher profits but pay a lower rate of taxes than ever before.

“Like Scrooge, Canada’s big businesses and banks are trying to keep all the money for themselves, and key changes are needed to close loopholes and match the average tax rate in G7 countries to ensure they pay their fair share of taxes,” said Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch. “As well, Canada’s big banks have gouged their way to record profits again this year, and key changes are needed to stop the gouging and ensure they serve all customers fairly at fair prices.”

In 2016, big businesses paid only 22% of total taxes collected by governments — Canadians paid 78%. In contrast, in 1952 big businesses and Canadians paid the same amount in taxes.

As the report says: “Canada’s largest corporations use complex techniques and tax loopholes to reduce their taxes significantly below the official corporate tax rate set by the government.”

As well, the report details how cutting Canada’s corporate tax rate by 16% from 1997 to 2016 has not increased corporate investment in machinery and equipment and in intellectual property like it was supposed to do. Investments by Canada’s big businesses in these areas are still below the 1997 level as a percentage of GDP.

Canada’s official corporate tax rate is now 26.6% but, on average, Canadian big businesses paid only 17.7% from 2011-2016 — one of the lowest rates of all G7 countries.

Canada’s Big Banks paid a tax rate of only 16% over the past 6 years — lower than banks in other G7 countries. They are the biggest tax evaders of all Canadian big businesses and, not surprisingly, also the most profitable. They made a record $42.3 billion in profits in 2017.

If Canada’s big businesses and banks paid the official tax rate from 2011-2016, governments across Canada would have almost $64 billion more to spend on making hospitals, schools, housing, public transit and roads better, and on other things Canadians need.

Making Canada’s big businesses and banks pay their fair share in taxes will raise at least $10 billion each year, and billions more if the corporate tax rate is increased to the average rate in G7 countries.

The petition calls on Liberal Finance Minister Morneau to work with federal political parties to work together to make the following three key changes:

  1. Close all the loopholes that allow Canada’s big businesses and banks to evade paying taxes in Canada by pretending they make their money through companies they own in low-tax countries;
  2. Increase Canada’s business tax rate to match the average rate in G7 countries, and;
  3. Impose a special tax (like England and Australia have) on any Canadian business or bank that has excessively high profits like Canada’s Big Banks have had in the past several years.

Democracy Watch is also calling on Finance Minister Morneau to work with federal political parties to make key changes to stop gouging and abuse by Canada’s big banks. The Big Six Banks made a record $42.3 billion profit in 2017.

As the report also shows, most Canadians don’t benefit from excessive Big Bank profits because they don’t own shares in the banks. As the report says: “more than 80 per cent of Canadian stocks are owned (both directly and indirectly through pensions and mutual funds) by foreigners and the wealthiest households in the country.”

As well, the report reveals that Canada’s Big Banks donate to charities only 10% of what they avoid in taxes – only $2.1 billion donated compared to $23 billion in taxes avoided.

– 30 –

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch
Tel: (613) 241-5179
Cell: 416-546-3443
info@democracywatch.ca

Democracy Watch’s Bank Accountability Campaign and Corporate Responsibility Campaign

2017 donations show Ontario political finance system still undemocratic – Liberals and PCs both received 36% of donations from only 11% of donors

NDP received 14% of donations from only 2% of their donors, and Greens received 18% of donations from only 4% of their donors

Elections Ontario should conduct audit — would likely find high donation limit has led to funneling and bundling of donations (as happened in Quebec and at the federal level)

To stop the unethical influence of big money in Ontario politics, 50-group coalition, and more than 10,000 Ontario voters, call for annual donation and loan limit for individuals (including candidates) of $100 (as in Quebec), stronger enforcement and penalties for violations, and review of annual per-vote and donation-matching public funding to prove it’s actually needed

Same changes should be made to municipal political finance system across Ontario

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, January 11, 2018

OTTAWA – Today, just as it predicted in 2016, Democracy Watch revealed that Ontario’s provincial political finance system is still undemocratic as initial 2017 donations data from Elections Ontario show the Liberals and PCs received a large share of their donations from a very small group of people who donated $1,000 or more.

The Ontario Liberals received 36.5% of total donations in 2017 from only 11.8% of their donors who donated $1,000 or more.  The PCs received 35.7% of total donations from only 11% of their donors. The NDP received 14% of donations from only 2% of their donors, and the Greens received 18% of donations from only 4% of their donors. (See details further below)

As well, people who donated $500-$999 contributed a significant portion of the total money raised by the parties.  Overall, the Liberals received 60% of their total donations from 26% of their donors who donated $500 or more; the PCs received 56% from 23% of their donors who donated $500 or more; the NDP received 33% from 7.5% of their donors who donated $500 or more, and; the Greens received 42% from 18% of their donors who donated $500 or more.

“As Democracy Watch predicted last year, Ontario’s new donation limit is much higher than the average voter can afford and the parties are relying on wealthy donors for a lot of the money they raise, which gives those wealthy donors unethical influence over the parties,” said Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch and Chairperson of the Money in Politics Coalition.  “Ontario’s too-high donation limit is also likely encouraging funneling of donations from businesses through their executives and employees and their families, and bundling of donations by lobbyists, both of which happened in Quebec and at the federal level, and Elections Ontario must conduct an audit to ensure these things are not happening.”

Based on the donation patterns in 2017, Democracy Watch and the Money in Politics Coalition (made up of 50 groups with a total of more than 3 million members), joined by almost 10,000 Ontario voters who have signed a petition on Change.org, called on Ontario’s political parties to make the following changes to get big money out of Ontario politics before the legislature breaks for the upcoming provincial election:

  1. set an individual donation limit of $100 per year (as in Quebec);
  2. set a limit of what candidates can give to their own campaign of $100 per year;
  3. prohibit loans to parties except from a public fund;
  4. review the per-vote annual public funding and, if the parties can actually prove they need it, set it at at most $1 per vote, and use annual donation-matching public funding if parties prove it is needed, and;
  5. strengthen enforcement and penalties for violations.

Democracy Watch also called on Elections Ontario to conduct an audit to ensure that businesses were not funneling donations through their executives and family members (as happened in Quebec and at the federal level), and to ensure that lobbyists are not holding fundraising events to be “bundlers” of donations as a way of having undue influence over parties or politicians.

Years of experience and scandals in Quebec before 2013, at the federal level since 2007, and in Toronto since 2009, and also in Alberta, show clearly that setting a donation limit that allows individuals to donate more than $1,000 each year will allow the unethical influence of big money donations, and cash-for-access fundraising schemes, to continue in Ontario.

“As Quebec, federal and Alberta donation scandals show clearly, the only way to stop the unethical, undemocratic influence of money in B.C. politics is to stop big money donations by allowing only individuals to donate only $100 a year,” said Conacher.

See details about past donation scandals, and the key changes needed to stop big money in Ontario politics, in this news release.

The donation data for the four main parties, and donations of $1,000 or more, is as follows:

Ontario Liberal Party:
Total Donated in 2017 – $1,106,657.96
Total Number of Donors in 2017 – 2,787
Total Donated in amounts of $1,000 or more – $403,532.45 (36.46% of total donated)
Total Number of Donors donating $1,000 or more – 329 (11.80% of total donors)

PC Party of Ontario:
Total Donated in 2017 – $2,353,406.70
Total Number of Donors in 2017 – 6,541
Total Donated in amounts of $1,000 or more – $839,626 (35.67% of total donated)
Total Number of Donors donating $1,000 or more – 722 (11.03% of total donors)

Ontario NDP:
Total Donated in 2017 – $1,155,909.91
Total Number of Donors in 2017 – 6,508
Total Donated in amounts of $1,000 or more – $163,426.50 (14.14% of total donated)
Total Number of Donors donating $1,000 or more – 148 (2.3% of total donors)

Green Party of Ontario:
Total Donated in 2017 – $379,308.40
Total Number of Donors in 2017 – 1,458
Total Donated in amounts of $1,000 or more – $68,545.50 (18.07% of total donated)
Total Number of Donors donating $1,000 or more – 58 (3.98% of total donors)

The donation data for the four main parties for donations of $500-$999 is as follows:

Ontario Liberal Party:
Total Donated in amounts of $500-$999 – $255,932.31 (23.12% of total donated)
Total Number of Donors donating $500-$999 – 392 (14.06% of total donors)

PC Party of Ontario:
Total Donated in amounts of $500-$999 – $508,152.06 (21.59% of total donated)
Total Number of Donors donating $500-$999 – 817 (12.49% of total donors)

Ontario NDP:
Total Donated in amounts of $500-$999 – $218,512.59 (18.90% of total donated)
Total Number of Donors donating $500-$999 – 338 (5.19% of total donors)

Green Party of Ontario:
Total Donated in amounts of $500-$999 – $91,734.65 (24.18% of total donated)
Total Number of Donors donating $500-$999 – 203 (13.92% of total donors)

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FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch and Chairperson of the Money in Politics Coalition
Tel: (613) 241-5179
Cell: 416-546-3443
info@democracywatch.ca

Democracy Watch’s Money in Politics Campaign

Democracy Watch calls on Elections Ontario to inform voters of all their rights effectively, including right to decline their ballot in 2018 election – plans court challenge

Elections Ontario spent $4.83 million during 2014 election campaign on voter information and ads that all missed key messages to encourage voter turnout – turnout was second lowest level ever at 51.3%

(NOTE: Since Democracy Watch sent its letter yesterday to Elections Ontario, it has thankfully added information about the right to decline your ballot to the “Voting” page, “Glossary” page, and “How to Vote” page of its website. See a screenshot here of the “How to Vote” page as it was two days ago to compare it with the page linked in the previous sentence, and you will see that it has been updated to add a section entitled “Different ways to mark your ballot” that mentions the right to decline your ballot. However, there are still more than a dozen documents about voting and voter rights on Elections Ontario’s website that fail to mention the right to decline your ballot)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, January 9, 2018

OTTAWA –  Today, Democracy Watch released the letter it sent yesterday to Ontario’s Chief Electoral Officer Greg Essensa calling on him to, in contrast to the 2011 and 2014 provincial election, spend the likely more than $4.5 million in advertising and communications with voters about the 2018 election effectively by producing new advertising that gives voters actual reasons to vote, and informs them that they have the right to decline their ballot (in other words, to vote “none of the above”).

Despite Elections Ontario’s $4.5 million in advertising spending in 2011, voter turnout in the 2011 Ontario election was a record low 48.2% of eligible voters, the first time in history that turnout dropped below 50%.  And despite Elections Ontario’s more than $4.8 million in ad spending in 2014, turnout in the 2014 election was the second-lowest ever at 51.3%.  The 2007 turnout was only slightly better at 52.1%.

In the letter, Democracy Watch requests that Elections Ontario make changes to its website, election advertising, information package for new voters, voter information cards, and teacher and youth education documents so that they all include clear information that ensures Ontario voters know they have the legal right under section 53 of Ontario’s Election Act to decline their ballot (i.e. vote “none of the above”) and have it counted separately from a vote for a candidate or a spoiled ballot.  This right has existed in the law since 1975.

As the letter details, Elections Ontario currently mentions the right to decline your ballot briefly only once on its website, in only one of more than a dozen documents about voting, totaling more than 200 pages, that can be downloaded from the site.  Also detailed in the letter is how, in its 2011 and 2014 election advertising, website pages, new voter information package, voter information card, Elections Ontario failed to mention the right to decline your ballot.

If Elections Ontario fails to fulfill its legal duties properly to educate voters about all their voting rights (as set out in in subsection 114.1(2) and section 114.2 of the Election Act), Democracy Watch will apply to court for an order mandating Elections Ontario to make the changes to its website, ads and information documents.

Democracy Watch sent a similar letter to Mr. Essensa in 2011 (after it was consulted by Elections Ontario concerning voter education), and again in 2014, but he has failed to make changes to include information about the right to decline your ballot on Elections Ontario’s website, and in its ads and public education documents, for the past seven years.

“Elections Ontario claims to uphold the democratic rights of voters but continues to fail to inform voters with its website, advertising and voter information that they have the legal right to vote none of the above by declining their ballot,” said Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch.  “Democracy Watch is calling on Elections Ontario to correct its website, advertising and voter information, and if it fails to do so will challenge in court Elections Ontario’s negligent and undemocratic failure to inform voters of their full voting rights.”

“Some voters may not support any party that has a candidate in their riding or may not support any of the parties’ platforms, and they have the right to be informed by Elections Ontario that they have the right to vote for ‘none of the above’ by declining their ballot,” said Conacher.

In its letter, Democracy Watch also urges Elections Ontario, if it hopes to encourage higher voter turnout with its election advertising, to include the following key messages on its website, and in its ads and any information sent to voters (including the voter registration card):

  • “You never know when your vote may count” — with examples from past provincial elections such as 1985 and 1990, and from specific ridings in various elections, all  of which show clearly that local and provincial election results cannot be predicted in advance, and;
  • “If you don’t vote, you don’t count” — making it clear that politicians don’t really care about you if you don’t vote because non-voters do not help them get elected, or defeated.

The federal government, and every provincial and territorial government, should add the right to vote “none of the above” and to give a reason to their election laws (including the election laws for municipal elections in each jurisdiction).

In addition, the Ontario parties must make the following changes if they want to increase voter turnout up to the past average levels of 65-70% that occurred from the 1934 provincial election through to the 2003 election:

  • pass an honesty-in-politics law that gives voters an easy, low-cost way to file complaints about broken promises and false statements to the Integrity Commissioner, and gives the Commissioner the power to penalize misleaders (and requires MPPs who switch parties in-between elections for unjustifiable reasons to resign and run in a by-election);
  • change the voting system to provide a more accurate representation of the popular vote results in each election in the seats held by each party in the legislature (as in many other countries) while ensuring that all elected officials are supported by, and are accountable to, voters in each riding/constituency (with a safeguard to ensure that a party with a low-level, narrow-base of support does not have a disproportionately high level of power in the legislature), and;
  • strengthen provincial political ethics, political finance, lobbying, open government, and whistleblower protection laws.

These changes would give voters many more reasons to vote because they would know that voting for a specific party would mean their vote would count and the party’s promises would be kept, and they would be more assured of democratic good government overall no matter which party won.

“More and more voters know from their experience of the past few decades of elections that they are not going to get what they vote for, and are likely to get dishonest, secretive, unethical, unrepresentative and wasteful government no matter who they vote for, and as a result no one should be surprised to see voter turnout in Ontario at such a low level,” said Conacher.

These problems exist in all the provinces and territories across Canada.  All of these changes should be made by the federal and provincial and territorial governments, and for their municipalities, before mandatory voting is even considered because forcing voters to vote creates false legitimacy for political parties and politicians (and mandatory voting must never be implemented unless “none of the above” is one of the options on the ballot).  As well, Internet voting should not even be considered currently because it dangerously undermines the integrity of the voting system.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch
Tel: 613-241-5179
Cell: 416-546-3443

Democracy Watch’s Democratic Voting System Campaign

Lobbying Commissioner confirms investigation of Democracy Watch’s complaint that Aga Khan violated Lobbyists’ Code by giving PM Trudeau and MP O’Regan gift of trip to Bahamas island

New Lobbying Commissioner Nancy Bélanger in conflict of interest as she was handpicked by Trudeau through secretive, PMO-controlled process – must refer investigation to person independent of her and all parties or DWatch will go to court

Auditor General should also audit past Lobbying Commissioner Karen Shepherd’s and Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson’s extremely weak enforcement records

Review of federal ethics and lobbying laws next year must close loopholes, strengthen enforcement, make Ethics Commissioner and Lobbying Commissioner independent, and add high fines as penalties

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Monday, January 8, 2018

OTTAWA – Today, Democracy Watch released the December 28th letter it received from the Lobbying Commissioner confirming that the Commissioner’s office is investigating its complaint filed on December 20th concerning whether the Aga Khan’s gift of the Bahamas trip given to Prime Minister Trudeau in December 2014 and December 2016, and to Liberal MP Seamus O’Regan in December 2016, violated the Lobbyists’ Code of Conduct.

The Lobbying Commissioner calls the initial investigation stage an “administrative review” but, in fact, it is an investigation that leads to an investigator giving an investigation report to the Lobbying Commissioner who then makes a ruling on whether a full investigation is warranted.

“An independent investigation about whether the Aga Khan a year ago violated the lobbyist ethics code by giving the trip gift to PM Trudeau and MP O’Regan should have been initiated a year ago,” said Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch.  “Given that she was handpicked by Trudeau through a secretive, PMO-controlled process, the Lobbying Commissioner is in a conflict of interest and so must delegate the investigation to a person who is independent of her and all federal political parties.”

Democracy Watch will soon file a court case challenging the appointments of new Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion and new Lobbying Commissioner Nancy Bélanger as both commissioners’ offices were investigating situations involving Trudeau and other Cabinet ministers or Liberal MPs when they were chosen through secretive, PMO- and Cabinet-controlled selection processes.  In the meantime, it is requesting that both commissioners recuse themselves from all investigations and rulings given they both have a reasonable apprehension of bias in favour of the Liberals.

CBC reported on December 22nd that another person had complained to the Lobbying Commissioner about the Aga Khan’s trip gift to Trudeau sometime in the past year, and that former Lobbying Commissioner Karen Shepherd had issued a ruling last September that even though the Aga Khan is on the boards of both the Aga Khan Foundation and the Global Centre for Pluralism, both of which are registered to lobby the federal government, because he wasn’t paid to lobby for them the Lobbying Act and Lobbyists’ Code of Conduct do not apply to him.

Democracy Watch’s December 20th complaint is essentially asking for an independent re-consideration of Commissioner Shepherd’s ruling, given that she was in a conflict of interest at the time she issued the ruling as she was serving on a renewable six-month sole-source contract handed to her by the Trudeau Cabinet last June.  Democracy Watch will soon file a court case challenging Commissioner Shepherd’s ruling in court.

Democracy Watch also repeated its call on the Auditor General to audit Commissioner Dawson’s record over the past 10 years because she has let 95% of people alleged to have violated the rules off the hook, and made 218 secret rulings.  Commissioner Dawson finishes her term in office today.

Democracy Watch is also calling on the Auditor General to audit the Lobbying Commissioner and RCMP because they have let off the hook 84% of people who she has caught violating the Code or the Lobbying Act.  Commissioner Shepherd finished her term in office on December 29th.

Hundreds of Canadians have joined the call on the Auditor General to audit the Ethics Commissioner and Lobbying Commissioner and RCMP — see details here.

“Ethics Commissioner Dawson went out with a bang by finally finding Prime Minister Trudeau guilty of violating the ethics law but her overall record since 2007 is as a lapdog who has let almost everyone off and the Auditor General should audit to find out if she covered up any past wrongdoing,” said Conacher.  “Lobbying Commissioner Shepherd went out with a whimper by issuing only one public ruling in the past two years since the Liberals were elected, and she also let almost everyone off since 2008 so the Auditor General should also audit her negligently weak record.”

Prime Minister Trudeau faces no penalty for violating the federal ethics law even though it is one of the key laws that safeguards Canada’s democracy.  The ethics rules for Cabinet ministers have existed back to when Trudeau’s father was Prime Minister but all prime ministers since have rejected the proposal to impose penalties for violations.

Other ongoing problems with the federal government ethics system are that Ethics Commissioner Dawson didn’t catch Prime Minister Trudeau violating the law by taking the trip gift because she has refused to do basic audits since 2007 to ensure everyone is complying with the law.  In addition, the law has huge loopholes that allow Cabinet ministers to profit from their decisions, as the scandal involving Finance Minister Morneau has revealed.

As well, the Trudeau Cabinet has just handpicked the new Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion and new Lobbying Commissioner Nancy Belanger through a secretive, PMO-controlled process that Democracy Watch will be challenging in court in January.  See details here.

The Conflict of Interest Act and the Lobbying Act are required to be reviewed by the House Ethics Committee in 2018.  The Conservatives rejected many key proposed changes when the laws were last reviewed by the Committee.  See details about the changes needed to close loopholes and strengthen enforcement of the Conflict of Interest Act here.

See details about the changes needed to close loopholes and strengthen enforcement and penalties for the Lobbying Act and Lobbyists’ Code of Conduct here.

– 30 –

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch
Tel: (613) 241-5179    Cell: 416-546-3443
info@democracywatch.ca

Democracy Watch’s Government Ethics Campaign page

Ethics Commissioner’s good ruling on Aga Khan gift to Prime Minister doesn’t excuse overall very weak record that Auditor General should audit

Democracy Watch calls on Lobbying Commissioner to find Aga Khan guilty of violating Lobbyists’ Code — Auditor General should also audit her weak record

Review of federal ethics and lobbying laws next year must close loopholes, strengthen enforcement, make Ethics Commissioner and Lobbying Commissioner independent, and add high fines as penalties

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, December 20, 2017

OTTAWA – Today, Democracy Watch applauded Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson for doing the right thing, finally, by finding Prime Minister Trudeau guilty of violating the federal ethics law by accepting the gift of the Bahamas trip from the Aga Khan, and also taking part in decisions that affected the Aga Khan’s foundation.

However, Democracy Watch repeated its call on the Auditor General to audit Commissioner Dawson’s record over the past 10 years because she has let 95% of people alleged to have violated the rules off the hook, and made 218 secret rulings.  Commissioner Dawson finishes her term in office on January 8th.

Democracy Watch also sent a letter to Commissioner of Lobbying Karen Shepherd this afternoon calling for an investigation into the Aga Khan’s gift as a violation of the Lobbyists’ Code of Conduct.

Democracy Watch is also calling on the Auditor General to audit the Lobbying Commissioner and RCMP because they have let off the hook 84% of people who she has caught violating the Code or the Lobbying Act.  Commissioner Shepherd finishes her term in office on December 29th.

Hundreds of Canadians have joined the call on the Auditor General to audit the Ethics Commissioner and Lobbying Commissioner and RCMP — see details here.

“Ethics Commissioner Dawson is going out with a bang not a whimper by finally finding Prime Minister Trudeau guilty of violating the ethics law but her overall record since 2007 is as a lapdog who has let almost everyone off and the Auditor General should audit to find out if she covered up any past wrongdoing,” said Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch.  “Lobbying Commissioner Shepherd should have started investigating the Aga Khan a year ago for violating the lobbyist ethics code by giving the trip gift to Trudeau, and the Auditor General should also audit her negligently weak record.”

Prime Minister Trudeau faces no penalty for violating the federal ethics law even though it is one of the key laws that safeguards Canada’s democracy.  The ethics rules for Cabinet ministers have existed back to when Trudeau’s father was Prime Minister but all prime ministers since have rejected the proposal to impose penalties for violations.

Other ongoing problems with the federal government ethics system are that Ethics Commissioner Dawson didn’t catch Prime Minister Trudeau violating the law by taking the trip gift because she has refused to do basic audits since 2007 to ensure everyone is complying with the law.  In addition, the law has huge loopholes that allow Cabinet ministers to profit from their decisions, as the scandal involving Finance Minister Morneau has revealed.

As well, the Trudeau Cabinet has just handpicked the new Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion and new Lobbying Commissioner Nancy Belanger through a secretive, PMO-controlled process that Democracy Watch will be challenging in court in January.  See details here.

The Conflict of Interest Act and the Lobbying Act are required to be reviewed by the House Ethics Committee in 2018.  The Conservatives rejected many key proposed changes when the laws were last reviewed by the Committee.  See details about the changes needed to close loopholes and strengthen enforcement of the Conflict of Interest Act here.

See details about the changes needed to close loopholes and strengthen enforcement and penalties for the Lobbying Act and Lobbyists’ Code of Conduct here.

– 30 –

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch
Tel: (613) 241-5179    Cell: 416-546-3443
info@democracywatch.ca

Democracy Watch’s Government Ethics Campaign page