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Commissariat aux conflits d'int6rts et d I'ethique Office of the Conflict of lnterest and Ethics Commissioner

66, rue Slater Street

22'6tage I 22nd Floor


OTTAWA, ONTARIO
CANADA K1A 0A6

April 13,2010

Mr. Dean Del Maestro, M.P. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Member of Parliament for Peterborough Room 602, Justice Building House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario

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0,4.6

AND Mr. Justin Trudeau, M.P.


Member of Parliament for Papineau Room 135, Confederation Building House of Commons Ottawa, Ontario KlA 0,4.6
Dear Mr. Del Maestro and Mr. Trudeau:

I have completed my preliminary review in relation to the request dated March 15,2010 from Mr. Del Maestro which was received in my Office on March 17. He asked that I conduct an inquiry into a possible contravention of the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons (Code) by Mr. Trudeau. Based on the information in the request and the response from Mr. Trudeau, I do not believe that an inquiry is warranted, The reasons for rny decision are set out below.

Mr. Del Maestro's request


Mr. Del Maestro's concerns centred on Mr. Trudeau's business as a paid speaker and the fact that promotional material for these speaking engagements describes Mr. Trudeau as a Member of Parliament. Mr. Del Maestro recognized that section 7 of the Code allows Mr. Trudeau to continue to calry on a business or employment, but alleged that Mr. Trudeau breached sections 8 and 9 of the Code by allowing himself to be advertised as a Member of Parliament in connection with professional speaking engagements for which he is paid a fee. Section 8 prohibits Members from acting to further their private interests when perfonning parliarrentary duties and functions.
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2Section 9 prohibits Members from using their position to influence a decision of another person fuither the Mernber's private interests. Mr. Del Maestro alleges that Mr. Trudeau has used his position as a Member to further his private interests as a paid speaker.
so as to

Mr. Del Maestro included with his request promotional material for the November 2,2009 Champion of Public Education Moncton Tribute Lunch where Mr. Trudeau was the keynote speaker. This event was 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 Brunswick for her dedication to literacy, education and childhood development.
The materials included a notice on the Learning Partnership website advertising this event and a promotional brochure, both of which refer to Mr. Trudeau as "Justin Trudeau, MP". A press release 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 was also described in the press release as a long-time champion of education causes and literacy. In addition, Mr. Del Maestro enclosed a press report of November 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 enclosed the biography of Mr. Trudeau which is featured on the website of the Speakers' Spotlight, an agency that books speaking engagements for Mr. Trudeau and many other speakers. He alleged that Mr. Trudeau's position as a Member of Parliament is featured prominently. I note that the 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 proud to be the new Member of Parliament for Papineau. In addition Mr. Del Maestro referred to three other speaking engagements of Mr. Trudeau that took place rn2009, where he was also advertised as a Member of Parliament. Mr. Del Maestro does not know if these were paid events.
Process

On March 18, 2010, after determining that the request met the requirements of subsection 27(2) of the Code, I forwarded Mr. Del Maestro's request to Mr. Trudeau in accordance with subsection 27(3.1) of the Code. In my covering letter I explained to Mr. Trudeau that the Code gives him 30 days to respond to Mr. Del Maestro's allegations. I informed hirn that I was then required 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 of my decision within 15 working days after receiving the response. I also advised Mr. Del Maestro of this. l3

3Mr. Trudeau's response I received Mr. Trudeau's response on March 25,2010. Mr. Trudeau stated in his letter that in his view he has not breached the Code because he undertakes these speaking engagernents in his private capacity and speaks about issues such as education, the environnent and youth. He does not comment on partisan or political matters, and any requests for speeches of a political nature are referred to his Member of Parliament offices.
With respect to his speaking engagelnent at the Moncton tribute lunch, Mr. Trudeau said that this was for the Learning Parlnership, a non-profit charitable organization whose mandate is to strengthen public education in Canada. He was paid by the Learning Partnership and not by the Liberal Party. The honouree was Ms. Marilyn Trenholme Counsell, a former Liberal Senator, and there were many Liberals in attendance. ln addition, the Master of Ceremonies was Ms. Roxanne Reeves, an offrcial with the Learning Parlnership, who is also the spouse of Mr. Shawn Graham, Liberal Premier of New Brunswick. He thought that this may have given the impression that the event was organizedby the Liberal Party. Mr. Trudeau stated that he was seated between Conservative Party of Canada Senator John Wallace and New Brunswick Progressive Conservative Party leader David Alward. He said that he gave a 20-minute nonpartisan speech on the challenges of building a society that values young people and empowers them through education, a topic on which he has spoken many tirnes before his election to
Parliament.

With respect to his speaking engagements generally, Mr. Trudeau stated that he is represented by Speakers' Spotlight, an agency that handles bookings for many speakers. He enclosed his current biography from the Speakers' Spotlight as well as the biography from 2006, before he was elected, to show that very few changes have been made. His view is that it would be odd not to mention in his current biography that he is now a Member of Parliarnent. He has included a letter from Mr. Martin Perelmuter, President of Speakers' Spotlight, confirming that their bookings for Mr. Trudeau are only in his capacity as an individual who speaks about the environment, youth and education. Mr. Perelmuter added that this is made clear to clients, and

if

the event seems remotely political, the clients are directed to his Member of Parliament offices to book him as a Member of Parliament.

Mr. Trudeau said that no staff or resources of his Member of Parliament offices are used for his private speaking activities, other than to ensure that he has no scheduling conflicts. Any requests for private speaking engagements that may come in to his Member of Parliament offices are directed to Speakers' Spotlight. He included 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 not by his travel points or Member's Operating Budget. None of his communications as a Member of Parliament promote his paid speaking 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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4With respect to the three other speaking engagements referred to by Mr. Del Maestro, Mr. Trudeau stated that none of these were paid public speeches. One took place in the summer of 2008, before his election on October 14,2008, and the other two were undertaken as part of his duties and functions as a Member of Parliament and elected member of the Liberal Party.
Assessment

I have reviewed both Mr. Del Maestro's request and Mr. Trudeau's response in relation to sections 7, 8 and 9 of the Code. These provisions read as follows:

7. Nothing in tltis Code prevents Members who are not ministers of the Crown or parliamentary secretaries from any of thefollowing, as long as they are able to fuffill their obligations under this Code: (a) engaging in employment or in the practice of a profession; (b) carrying on a business; (c) being a director or fficer in a corporation, association, trade union or non-profit organization,' and (d) being a partner in a partnership.

8.

When performing parliamentary duties andfunctions, a Member shall not act in any way to further his or her private interests or those of a member of the Member's family, or to improperlyfurther another person's or entity's private interests.

or her position as a Member to influence a decision of another person so as to further the Member's private interests or those of a member of the Member'sfamily, or to improperlyfurther another person's or entity's private

9. A Member shall not


interests

use his

Section 7 allows Members who are not ministers or parliamentary secretaries to engage in employment or caffy on a business as long as they are able to fuIfilI their obligations under the Code. These obligations include sections 8 and 9 which prohibit them from using their positions as Members to further their private interests.

It is clear that Mr. Trudeau's paid speaking engagements would constitute a private interest within the meaning of the Code. Although the term "private interest" is not defined in the Code, subsection 3(2) sets out a list of circumstances in which a Member is considered to further a private interest and this list includes an increase in income from employment, a
business or a contract.

Section 8 is general in scope, and prohibits Members from acting to further their own private interests when performing parliamentary duties and functions. Mr. Trudeau stated that he was not engaged in parliamentary duties and functions when he spoke at the Moncton tribute lunch and his other private speaking engagements, but rather acting in his capacity as a private crtizen. He added that these speeches did not include political or partisan comrnents. He also described the arrangements he has put in place to ensure that his speaking engagernents for his
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private business are administered separately frorn those undertaken as a Member of Parliament and stated that he does not promote the private business while engaged in parliamentary duties and functions. There is no information before rne to suggest that Mr. Trudeau was perfonning parliamentary duties and functions when he spoke at these events or that he acted in any way to fuither his private interests as a paid speaker when performing those duties and functions. I accept his explanation. Therefore I conclude, as a result of my preliminary review, that section was not engaged.

Section 9 of the Code provides that Members may not use their positions as Members to influence the decision of another person so as to fuither the Member's private interests. Mr. Del Maestro's view is that Mr. Trudeau has contravened section 9 by allowing others to describe him as a Member of Parliarnent in promotional materials for his speaking engagements. I do not agree that allowing himself to be referred to as a Member of Parliament, on its own, constitutes using his position as a Member to influence the decisions of others to engage him as a paid speaker. It is simply making reference to his current occupation as a Member of Parliament. There is no other information before me to suggest that Mr. Trudeau used his position as a Mernber to further his private interests as a paid speaker. Therefore I conclude, as a result of my preliminary review, that section t has not been contravened. On the basis of the information provided, I have no reason to believe that Mr. Trudeau has contravened sections 8 or 9 of the Code. He is carrying on a business as a paid speaker while respecting his other obligations under the Code, and this is pennitted under section 7 of the Code. For these reasons, I have decided that an inquiry is not warranted.

Sincerely,

'

Mary Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner