So what, I did it! This seems to be the attitude of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the wake of a finding by the federal ethics commissioner that he had violated the ethics rules in the SNC affair.
In a scathing report, commissioner Mario Dion ruled that the prime minister have violated several sections of the legislation through “multiple flagrant attempts to influence” then Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould.
Dion noted that it was Trudeau, and only the prime minister “by virtue of his position” who could exert such influence on the former minister, even though he also found evidence which showed “there were many ways in which Mr. Trudeau, either directly or through the actions of those under his direction, sought to influence the Attorney General”
The prime minister's response to the report was to say he “accepts the report and takes responsibility for everything that happened” but he is not going to apologize for his actions. Indeed, the prime minister, even as he was accepting the report, said he disagreed with its findings. So much for accountability.
This is not the prime minister's first brush with the ethics commissioner. In late December 2017, just about the half way point of his mandate, Trudeau was found to have violated the guidelines by accepting a family holiday on the private Bahamian Island belonging to the Aga Khan. At the time, the prime minister described the vacation as a family vacation with an old family friend. This despite the fact the two had gone several decades without any contacts at all.
In all there have been five investigations into possible ethics violations by members of the Trudeau government in just about three years of their mandate. Three of those investigations resulted in findings of wrongdoing.
And yet there have been no significant consequences for any of these violations. Yes we did it, but so what!
I rarely agree with the current government, but the prime minister is right in not apologizing for this latest lapse. An apology is not enough! He needs to resign.
Frank Likely is a retired Anglican minister who lives in Springhill.