Saturday, June 04, 2005


What the Ethics Commissioner Isn't Supposed to Do

the Globe & Mail-June 3rd: Broadbent Says Ethics Commissioner Should Resign

'Ethics Commissioner Bernard Shapiro came under fire yesterday after he said his report into allegations against former immigration minister Judy Sgro has been held up because he has let some of the people involved see parts of it.
Mr. Shapiro told the Commons ethics committee that the law governing his position requires him to give those involved a chance to respond to his reports before their release'.

Strike 1) 'However, Rob Walsh, a senior legal counsel for the Commons, immediately contradicted the Ethics Commissioner. Releasing parts of a report only to some would "fly in the face" of a provision in the law requiring all parties to see the report at the same time so as not to give one an advantage, he said'.

Strike 2) 'Liberal MP Marlene Jennings, who has served as a commissioner in Quebec dealing with complaints against the police, said Mr. Shapiro's actions made her uneasy. "In all of my years, I've never seen that an excerpt of a report would go to a witness," she said. "I have a concern about it. I'm very uneasy about the idea of doing that."

Strike 3) 'Mr. Broadbent said Mr. Shapiro's actions related to the Sgro file, coupled with decisions to allow former cabinet ministers to bend postemployment rules, mean Mr. Shapiro should consider resigning.
"He should seriously think about it (resigning)," Mr. Broadbent said. "Mr. Shapiro has not performed well. This is a serious political position he's in, and it's a complex position. But he . . . demonstrates a complete lack of understanding about what ministerial accountability means."


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