Politicians still treat ethics too lightly

Éthique et politique

In Quebec, a firm in which Labour Minister David Whissell has shares has benefited handsomely from untendered Quebec government road-paving contracts.
In Ottawa, Defence Minister Peter MacKay has been fined $200 for what Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson called a "serious contravention," failing to report his involvement in two family-owned companies.
This is far too much like the old style of business as usual. After the sponsorship scandal, which did such damage to Canadians' trust in their leaders. it is incomprehensible that politicians at the cabinet level can be so casual about ethical issues.
In Whissell's case, the fault lies more with his boss, Premier Jean Charest. Charest has been dragging his heels for years over introducing a provincial code of ethics for the National Assembly and appointing an ethics commissioner, despite having promised both as long ago as 2002.
Before accepting his cabinet post, Whissell alerted Charest to his interest in the paving company ABC Rive-Nord. Instead of acting on the information, Charest gave his new cabinet minister a Get Out of Jail Free card. He "adapted" his new code of ethics to Whissell's particular circumstances. This speaks volumes about the seriousness with which Charest is taking the idea of a code of ethics.
Radio-Canada reported that Whissell's colleague, Transport Minister Julie Boulet, awarded two untendered contracts last year to ABC Rive-Nord. The provincial treasury requires that contracts over $100,000 must be tendered, unless there are too few companies to compete.
Worse, one of the contracts was to repave roads in Whissell's riding of Argenteuil ... shades of the late master of paving, Maurice Duplessis himself.
By the time Charest gets around to a provincial code of ethics, the air in the National Assembly will be even thicker with public distrust. Whissell should be either a minister or a contractor, but not both. Charest should make him choose.

Laissez un commentaire

Aucun commentaire trouvé