Trudeau’s ethics breach demonstrates need to get corporate influence out of government

OTTAWA — Green Party Leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands) is calling for a wider investigation into the SNC-Lavalin affair following the release of Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion’s report on Wednesday. The report found Prime Minister Justin Trudeau guilty of violating Canada’s Conflict of Interest Act.

“It is not for me to demand Mr. Trudeau’s resignation,” said Ms. May. “That is a matter for the PM to decide, and his decision will tell us far more about him than any denunciation from me or anyone else would. I believe it is a resignation offence, but I cannot speak for him. All the normal checks and balances should come into play here, including an RCMP investigation which I would not prejudge. But the moral issue of what to do belongs to Justin Trudeau and no one else. I certainly think he should apologise immediately to Jody Wilson-Raybould, to Jane Philpott and to the people of Canada.”

But Ms. May emphasized this issue does not end with the prime minister. “We need a more extensive inquiry, because the commissioner’s report does not cover the wide range of troubling issues unearthed by the SNC-Lavalin scandal – issues like the extent of corporate influence on our democracy, the lack of ethics and transparency in government and how staff in the Prime Minister’s Office could interfere so profoundly with the functioning of an independent ministry.”

Green Party Justice Critic, David Merner (Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke), stated: “No one is above the law. We need to shine a bright light on the systemic corruption underlying this scandal. A wider investigation must include access to all the relevant documents hidden from the Ethics Commissioner. The government must not continue to delay the release of this vital evidence. Any government that truly believes in ethics and integrity would welcome such an investigation.”
Electoral reform is also essential to addressing the ethical breaches from government after government. The Green Party would implement proportional representation so that every vote counts. Reforming Canada’s electoral system was a pledge of the Liberals’ 2015 campaign. Justin Trudeau promised that election would be the last regulated under the first-past-the-post system.

“Let’s not forget that only two parties have enjoyed the unfettered power that majority governments under our first-past-the-post system experience: the Liberals and the Conservatives,” stated Ms. May. “They are two sides of the same coin that Canadians have been flipping for over 150 years and getting the same results. This scandal is a rare opportunity to reflect on the state of our democracy. Clearly, there needs to be a change and sending more Green MPs to Parliament this fall will ensure that change happens sooner than later.”