Federal Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson has, after 10 highly questionable rulings in the past five years and an almost two-year delay in this case, finally issued a ruling that complies with the Conflict of Interest Act. She concluded that Conservative cabinet minister Christian Paradis' actions in relation to Rahim Jaffer violated the rule prohibiting giving preferential treatment to anyone or any organization.
If Prime Minister Harper does not kick Paradis out of cabinet, he will once again confirm his tolerance of dishonest, unethical and secretive behaviour by cabinet ministers and senior government officials.
And while Commissioner Dawson's ruling is welcome, she should have made this ruling before last May's election. Dawson has ignored for almost two years the complaint Democracy Watch filed about the actions of Paradis' staff, and other Conservative politicians and staff, who also gave Jaffer preferential treatment, and overall has a very weak enforcement record.
Commissioner Dawson's ongoing partial, and usually legally incorrect, enforcement of federal ethics rules is unacceptable given that these rules are key to having democratic good government.
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