Make the parliamentary code of ethics enforceable

Elizabeth May  

Mr. Speaker, this is my first chance to speak on the supply day motion. Most Canadians would find it astonishing that the Minister of Finance’s private arrangements were not put in a blind trust. We assume these things, but when we look at our code of ethics—and this is what I want to ask the parliamentary secretary about—none of the obligations in this code of ethics appear to be enforceable, at all. Members of Parliament are free to ignore their obligations to operate to the highest standards, to not conduct themselves in ways that put them in conflict of interest. I had a recent experience that confirms for me that the code of ethics and our plain understanding are simply unenforceable. Would the parliamentary secretary agree that we should take steps to ensure that the code of ethics of parliamentarians is actually enforceable and that the words mean something?

Joël Lightbound – Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for raising that point today. It is something that I would definitely be happy to discuss with her. However, as far as the minister is concerned, he has worked with the Ethics Commissioner from the get-go and will continue to do so, to follow her recommendations and any directives she may have for him to be in full compliance with the code and with our laws. This has been the case from the beginning and will remain the case as we go forward.