‘I didn’t take part,’ Trudeau cupboard minister says of sister-in-law’s choice as ethics watchdog

OTTAWA — Dominic LeBlanc, certainly one of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s most senior cupboard ministers, mentioned Friday he performed no half in a call to nominate his sister-in-law as the federal government’s momentary ethics watchdog.

LeBlanc mentioned he recused himself when the matter got here earlier than cupboard.

“I didn’t take part in any means on this determination,” he informed reporters in New Brunswick, with Trudeau by his aspect.

However that didn’t quell the political furor over the truth that Martine Richard was appointed to the ethics commissioner’s publish on an interim foundation this month.

Opposition MPs blasted the federal government for the third straight day within the Home of Commons over the difficulty, with requires the Liberals to rescind the appointment.

Conservative MP Shannon Stubbs referred to as giving the job to Richard an effort to “to cowl their very own butts sooner or later. Bloc MP Rene Villemure mentioned that whereas nobody doubts Richard’s competence, cupboard should have understood the optics.

“The looks of a battle of curiosity is clear,” he mentioned.

Trudeau mentioned Canadians can have faith within the moral oversight course of.

Richard has labored within the workplace for years, Trudeau careworn, together with stepping in sometimes for former commissioner Mario Dion, who retired earlier this 12 months.

From the very starting, there have been already measures in place to make sure that the work is completed professionally and with out conflicts given the connections,” Trudeau mentioned.

“That is one thing that could be a continuation of what has been performed prior to now and we’ll proceed to make sure that all the required instruments are in place in order that Canadians can proceed to have faith within the ethics commissioner.”

Dion declined to remark when contacted by the Star.

Over the course of Richard’s time within the workplace, Trudeau has twice been present in breach of ethics legal guidelines, as have three of his cupboard ministers. They embody Leblanc, who was fisheries minister in 2018 when he awarded a licence to reap arctic surf clams to an organization that employed certainly one of his members of the family — an affair the Conservatives dubbed the “clam rip-off” Friday within the Home of Commons.

The ethics commissioner workplace has confirmed that Richard — who joined it as senior counsel in 2013 — has had a battle of curiosity display screen that stored her away from any information coping with her household.

She had additionally recused herself from engaged on an investigation that discovered Trudeau in breach of the regulation in the course of the SNC-Lavalin affair.

For opposition MPs, nevertheless, that doesn’t look like ok.

“If there’s one place the place independence shouldn’t simply be a presumption however a certainty, it’s that of the ethics commissioner,” mentioned Conservative MP Luc Berthold.


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