After returning to parliament after a 6-week constituency break, Lakeland MP Shannon Stubbs is wasting no time in taking the federal Liberals to task; this time on cash for access fundraisers.
“Canadians have been confronted with a year of cash-for-access scandals, out of control spending, and more, higher taxes,” Stubbs said in a statement. “To kick-off 2017, Canada’s Ethics Commissioner will question the Prime Minister on his cash-for-access fundraisers where special interest groups paid for meetings to discuss government business. This is the first time ever that a sitting Prime Minister will be questioned for his unethical behavior by the Ethics Commissioner. It is ridiculous.”
The Liberals have responded to the criticisms and are planning to introduce new rules to make fundraisers involving party leaders and leadership candidates more transparent and accessible. The legislation includes requiring fundraisers to be held in a public place, advertised in advance and a report be written up afterwards and released to the public.
Stubbs however, remains unimpressed.
“The Prime Minister can’t keep his own word. Implementing a new law will not make the Prime Minister’s fundraisers ethical. Bending the rules so the PM can keep charging $1,500 for wealthy individuals to meet him and discuss government business is still wrong. The rules are clear: why can’t the Prime Minister follow them? If he wanted to end cash-for-access fundraisers, all he has to do is stop attending them. It shouldn’t take additional legislation to do so.”
NDP leader Tom Mulcair is also critical of the reforms, releasing a statement of his own. “Let’s also be clear, there is nothing here that actually bans selling access to ministers, which is the overarching problem,” he says.
Trudeau however, says attendees at the event did not have special influence over policy.
“The fact is, my approach continues to be to listen broadly through every possible opportunity I get and make the right decisions based on what’s best for Canada,” he said during a year-end news conference in Ottawa last month.
“I can say that in various Liberal Party events, I listen to people as I will in any given situation, but the decisions I make in government are ones based on what is right for Canadians, not on what an individual at a fundraiser might say.”