The code of ethics must be enforceable

Elizabeth May

Mr. Speaker, this is my first opportunity to take the floor in this debate on the matter of supply relating to the problem of ethics and the finance minister.


I would like to thank my friend from Vaughan—Woodbridge for his speech and ask his indulgence that I state, on the record, my deep concern that Bill C-27 must be withdrawn. It appears to me that there is a blatant conflict of interest in the finance minister bringing forward this measure.

As for much of the rest of the debate, I find it regrettable that we cannot focus on the need to bring into this place, and it is part of the motion before us today, ethics rules that are binding. The code of ethics for members of Parliament that we find in our Standing Orders book says very clearly that we must avoid conflict of interest and the perception of conflict of interest, but as far as I can see, it is impossible to commit an ethical violation. On this, I refer to more than the hon. Minister of Finance, but to other members in this place who have committed, in any common-sense understanding, a violation of their conflict of interest guidelines, the guidelines are unenforceable. Would my friend from Vaughan—Woodbridge agree that we should make them enforceable?


Francesco Sorbara


Mr. Speaker, I have two brief points. First, retirement security and retiring in a dignified way for millions of Canadians is important to us. That is why we enhanced the CPP and boosted the GIS. If there are other avenues we could take, we will obviously look at them. We need to make sure we strengthen our retirement system.
On the other matter, the finance minister is working closely with the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner to ensure that everything is being taken care of properly.