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Ethics commissioner letter on Justin Trudeau speaking events

Ethics commissioner letter on Justin Trudeau speaking events

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Published by Glen McGregor
A 2010 letter from Canadian federal Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson to Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro and Liberal MP Justin Trudeau, in response to Del Mastro's complaint about Trudeau's paid speaking events.
A 2010 letter from Canadian federal Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson to Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro and Liberal MP Justin Trudeau, in response to Del Mastro's complaint about Trudeau's paid speaking events.

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Published by: Glen McGregor on Feb 19, 2013
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06/18/2013

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Commissariat aux conflits
d'int6r€ts
et
d
I'ethique
Office
of
the Conflict
of
lnterest andEthicsCommissioner
66,
rue Slater Street
22'6tage
I
22nd
Floor
OTTAWA,
ONTARIOCANADAK1A 0A6
April
13,2010
Mr.
Dean
Del
Maestro,M.P.Parliamentary
Secretary
to
the
Minister
of
Canadian
Heritage
and
Memberof
Parliament
for
Peterborough
Room
602,
Justice
Building
House
of
CommonsOttawa,
Ontario
KlA
0,4.6
ANDMr.
JustinTrudeau, M.P.
Memberof
Parliament
for
Papineau
Room
135,
Confederation
Building
House
of
CommonsOttawa,
Ontario
KlA
0,4.6
Dear
Mr.
Del
Maestro
and
Mr.
Trudeau:
I
have
completed
mypreliminary reviewin
relationto
the request dated
March
15,2010from
Mr.
Del
Maestro
which
was
received
in my Office
on
March
17.
He
asked
that
I
conduct
an
inquiry
into
a
possiblecontravention
of
the
Conflict
of
Interest
Code
for
Members
of
the
House
of
Commons
(Code)by
Mr.
Trudeau.
Based onthe
informationin
the request
and
theresponse
from
Mr.
Trudeau,
I
do
notbelievethat
an
inquiry
is
warranted,
The
reasons
forrnydecision
are
set
out below.
Mr.
Del Maestro's
request
Mr.
Del Maestro's
concernscentred
on
Mr.
Trudeau's
business
as a
paid
speakerandthe
fact
that
promotionalmaterial for
these
speaking
engagementsdescribes
Mr.
Trudeau
asa
Member of
Parliament.
Mr.
Del
Maestro recognizedthat section
7
of
the
Code
allows
Mr.
Trudeau
to
continueto
calry
on
a
business
or employment,
but
alleged
that
Mr.
Trudeau breached
sections
8 and 9
of
the
Code
by
allowinghimself
to beadvertised
as
a
Member
of
Parliament
in
connection
with
professional
speakingengagements
forwhich
he
ispaid
a
fee.
Section
8
prohibits
Members
from
acting
to
further
their
private
interests
when
perfonningparliarrentary
duties
and
functions.
...t2
 
2-
Section
9
prohibits
Members
from
using
theirposition
to influence
a
decision
of
anotherperson
so
as
to
fuither
the
Mernber'sprivate
interests.
Mr.
Del
Maestro
alleges
that
Mr.
Trudeau
has
used
his
position
as
a
Member
to
furtherhis
private
interests
as
a
paid
speaker.
Mr.
Del
Maestro included
with
his
request
promotional
material
for
the
November
2,2009
Champion
ofPublic
Education Moncton
Tribute Lunch
where
Mr.
Trudeau
was the
keynotespeaker.
This
eventwas
organized
as a
fundraiser
by
the
Leaming
Partnership,
a
non-profit
organrzation advocating
a
strong
public
education
system
in
Canada,
to honour
Ms.
Marilyn
Trenholme
Counsell,
a
former
Senator
and
Lieutenant-Governor
of New Brunswickfor
her dedication
to literacy,
education
and
childhood
development.
The materials included
a
notice
on
the Learning
Partnership
websiteadvertising this
event and
a
promotional
brochure,
both of which
referto
Mr.
Trudeau
as
"Justin
Trudeau,
MP".A
pressrelease
for
the
event
published
on
November
2,2009 in
the
Moncton
Times
&
Transcript
refers
to
Mr.
Trudeau
as
"one
of
Canada's
most high
profile
Members
of Parliarnent".
I
note
that
he
wasalso
described
in
the
press
release
as
a
long-time
champion
of
education
causes and
literacy. In
addition,
Mr.
Del
Maestro
enclosed
a
press
reportofNovember
7,2009
from
the
Moncton Times
&
Transcript
about
this
event,
which
stated
that
Mr.
Trudeau
was
paid
$10,000
as a
personal
appearance fee
which
Mr.
Trudeau
had charged
to
"local
Liberals."
Mr.
Del
Maestro
also enclosedthe
biographyof
Mr.
Trudeau
which
is featured
on
thewebsite
of
theSpeakers'
Spotlight,
anagencythat
books
speakingengagements
for
Mr.
Trudeau
and
many other speakers. He
alleged
that
Mr.
Trudeau's
position
as
a
Member
of
Parliament
is
featured
prominently.I
note thatthe
title
is
"Justin
P.
J.
Trudeau,
Education,
Environment
and
Youth Advocate"
and
the
only
reference
to the fact
that
Mr.
Trudeau
is
a
Member of
Parliament
is
found towards the
end
after
a
description
of his
education,
teaching
and
other
activities,
where
it
is
stated
that
he is
proudto
be the
new
Member of
Parliament
for
Papineau.
In
addition
Mr.
Del
Maestroreferredto three other
speaking engagements
of
Mr.
Trudeau that tookplacern2009,where
he
was
also advertised
as
a
Member of
Parliament.
Mr.
Del
Maestro
does
not
know
if
these
werepaid
events.
Process
On
March
18,
2010, afterdetermining that
therequest met the
requirements
of
subsection
27(2)
of
the
Code,
I
forwarded
Mr.
DelMaestro's
request
to
Mr.
Trudeau
in
accordance
with
subsection
27(3.1) of
the
Code.In my
covering letter
I
explained to
Mr.
Trudeau thatthe
Codegives
him
30
days
to
respond
to
Mr.
DelMaestro's allegations.
I
informed
hirnthat
I
was
thenrequired
to
conduct
a
preliminary review of
the
request
and
response
to
determine
if
an
inquiry
was
walranted
and
to
notify
both
Mr.
Del
Maestro
and
Mr.
Trudeau
ofmy
decision
within
15
working
days after receiving
the
response.
I
alsoadvised
Mr.
Del
Maestro
of
this.l3
 
3-
Mr.
Trudeau's
response
I
received
Mr.
Trudeau's
response
on March
25,2010.
Mr.
Trudeau
stated
in
his letterthat in
his view
he
has
not
breached
the
Code
becausehe
undertakesthese
speaking
engagernents
in
his
private
capacity
and
speaks
about
issuessuch
as
education,
the
environnent
and
youth.He
does
not
comment
on
partisan
or
political
matters,
and anyrequests
for
speeches
of
a
political
nature
are
referredto hisMember
of
Parliamentoffices.
With
respect
to
his
speakingengagelnent
at
the
Monctontribute
lunch,
Mr.
Trudeau
said
that this was
for
the
Learning Parlnership,
a
non-profit
charitableorganization whose
mandate is
to
strengthen
public
education
in
Canada. He
was
paidby the LearningPartnership
and
not
by
the
Liberal
Party.
The
honoureewas
Ms.
Marilyn
Trenholme Counsell,
a
former
Liberal
Senator, and there
were many
Liberalsin
attendance.
ln
addition,
the
Master
of
Ceremonies
was
Ms.
Roxanne
Reeves,an
offrcial
with
the LearningParlnership, who
is
also
the
spouse
of
Mr.
Shawn Graham,
Liberal
Premier
of New
Brunswick.
He thoughtthatthismay
have
giventhe impressionthat the
event was
organizedby
the
Liberal
Party.Mr.
Trudeau
stated that he was
seated
betweenConservative Party
of
CanadaSenatorJohn
Wallace
and
New Brunswick
ProgressiveConservativeParty
leader
David
Alward.
He
said that
he
gave
a
20-minutenon-partisan
speechon
the
challenges
of
building
a
society
that
valuesyoungpeople
and empowers
them
through
education,
a
topic
on
which
he hasspoken
many
tirnes
before
his
election toParliament.
With
respect
to
his
speakingengagements
generally,
Mr.
Trudeau
stated
that
he isrepresented
by
Speakers'
Spotlight,
anagency
that
handles
bookings
for
manyspeakers. He
enclosed
his
current
biographyfrom
the Speakers'
Spotlight
as
well
as
the
biography from
2006,
before
he
was
elected,
to
show
that
veryfew
changes
have been
made. His view
is that
it
would
be
oddnot
to
mention
in his
current
biography that
he
is
now
a
Member
ofParliarnent.
He
has
included
a
letter
from
Mr. Martin
Perelmuter,
President
of
Speakers'
Spotlight, confirming
that
theirbookings for
Mr.
Trudeau
are
onlyin
his
capacity
as
an
individual who
speaksaboutthe
environment,
youth
and
education.
Mr.
Perelmuter
added
that
this
is made
clear
to
clients,
and
if
theevent
seems
remotely
political,
the
clients
are
directed to his Member
of
Parliamentoffices to
book
him
as
a
Member
of
Parliament.
Mr.
Trudeau
said
that no staffor
resources
of
his Member
of
Parliament
offices
are used
for
his
private
speaking
activities,
other
than
to
ensure that he
has
noscheduling
conflicts. Any
requests
forprivate
speaking
engagements
thatmay
come
in
tohis Member
of
Parliament offices
are
directed
to
Speakers'
Spotlight.
Heincluded
a
letter
from
Mr.
Louis-Alexandre
Lanthier, his
Executive
Assistant,
confirming
this.
Mr.
Trudeau
added
that
any
travel
costs associated
with
his
public
speaking
are
entirely
assumed
by
the
client
and
notby
his
travelpointsor
Member's
Operating
Budget.
None
of
his communications
asa
Member
of
Parliamentpromotehispaidspeaking
work,
and
he
never
refers
to
this
in
his letters or
speeches as
a
Member
of
Parliament.He
said
that
he
has
never
pursued
his
private
interests
as
a
public
speaker
when
perfonning
his
parliamentary
functions
and duties.
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