Ethics czar says Harper didn’t ask for Guergis probe -

Ethics czar says Harper didn’t ask for Guergis probe

More confusion about the PM’s response to scandal


The federal ethics commissioner says she wasn’t asked by the Prime Minister Stephen Harper to investigate ousted cabinet minister Helena Guergis. Mary Dawson, who oversees the conflict of interest and ethics codes that senior government officials are supposed to follow, told CBC the PM merely referred the matter to her—a move that falls short of a request for an investigation. Harper’s spokesman admits that not only was there no formal request for Dawson to probe the matter, the Prime Minister’s Office didn’t provide her with any specifics. Guergis claims to be similarly under-informed. Her lawyer says the Prime Minister, despite kicking her out of cabinet and the Conservative caucus, didn’t spell out the allegations against her, which reportedly came from a private investigator.

CBC News

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Ethics czar says Harper didn’t ask for Guergis probe

  1. The plot thickens

  2. It is becoming clearer that Harper's motivation in his announcements was to provide a shield for himself, not a sword for enforcement agencies.

  3. This is the latest of increasing evidence of the ineffectiveness of Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson — she is empowered under the Conflict of Interest Act to initiate investigations on her own when she has reasonable grounds to believe the Act has been violated, and there are many media reports quoting former staff members of Minister Guergis who allege she allowed her husband to use her office for his own private business which is clearly a violation of the Act — how much more information does the Ethics Commissioner need to have reasonable grounds to launch an investigation?

    Also, when the Ethics Commissioner issued her statement on Monday that she would not investigate in response to the Prime Minister's referral, why didn't she make it clear that the reason was that the Prime Minister had not requested an investigation?

    As the Ethics Commissioner told CBC in the interview this morning, she is required to investigate when any MP or senator (including the Prime Minister) files a request with allegations and evidence of a violation of a section of the Act, so hopefully an MP or senator will file that request as soon as possible so the Ethics Commissioner will be forced to do her job finally.

    For all the details about how she has not been doing her job effectively since she was appointed in July 2007, go to:

    Hope this helps,
    Duff Conacher, Coordinator
    Democracy Watch

    • Thanks for the article link

      • But the behaviour of the PM is more disturbing than hers.

  4. Maybe she's not launching an investigation, because there isn't enough actual evidence. ? All we have are rumours and "allegations" and an abuse of the word "appropriately" by the Prime Minister.

    I don't know anything about the Ethics Commissioner; is she afraid for her job like the rest of them?

    It seems to me that there are grounds for Guergis to sue Harper. He's completely trashed her career over rumours.

    • I would think that if whatever evidence the P.I. offered the Tory lawyers was sufficient to convince the PMO to kick Guergis out of caucus, that there's more substance to this than mere allegations.

  5. What a gong show.

  6. Even ttht dolt Bernier was allowed to stay in caucus. What does that say about Helena handcart's transgressions when she's all but removed to the Railway Committee Room down the hall.

  7. Mary Dawson said today that an investigation wasn't "requested". On Friday of last week, Harper said he had "referred" the matter to her office. This is a classic use of semantics. If the Conflict of Interest legislation is so weak that "referring" and "requesting" don't mean the same thing, I suggest that the legislation badly needs to be rewritten.

  8. I was wondering Why Mary Dawson was on CBC saying the PM did not request her to "probe" the matter he only referred it to her. In previous statements from her said she could not and would not investigate the allegation because she can't during an active RCMP investigation. I would suggest that is why the file was only referred to her. The PM was probably advised of the same. I then wonder why was she on CBC making it sound like a negative, suspicious thing? Are RCMP allowed to let her know anything they have found during the investigation? Maybe that is why she is just getting the newspaper version and I dare say tabloid version of unfolding events. Just curious, maybe I got it all wrong!

    • Because it is a "negative, suspicious thing". Harper referred a bunch of hot air to her, nothing more. He took the word of someone he knew nothing about, and used it to crucify a female minister.

      Maxime Bernier is guilty of a lot more – he left a confidential file in the apartment of his biker-connected girlfriend. He was disgraced, but since Harper has guy-admiration issues – Bernier is back, and never did suffer much damage. Different story for Guergis.

  9. So, Mr. Strategic Genius PM – Mr. Smartest Guy In The Room; has taken the word of a PI hack who is down on his luck and in debt $13 million – and on the basis of complete and utter BS that anyone can see through – he fired an MP. Not only fired her, but said he was having her investigated by the RCMP and the ethics commissioner. He put her through days of questioning by the Opposition parties, days of bad press, days of what had to be extreme anxiety — just because he's an idiot.

    This PI went first to the Star and sold a story – then he went to the Liberals, and Peter Donolo very properly told him to get lost. Then he went to the Conservatives, and the stuff he told them apparently, has no grounds in reality – no concrete basis in fact. So far, it's all BS. But he was so afraid of a scandal touching his Teflon person, that he over-reacted and fired her. God forbid that anything about cocaine, hookers, busts, offshore accounts etc., should come anywhere near Holy Harper.

    Wow – is he ever stupid. And this is what's leading our country?

  10. I wonder how long the new Communications Director is going to last after this fiasco?

  11. So the Ethics Czar wants to play a game of semantics. She recieved a "referral" as opoosed to a "request". What BS! She has the authority to launch her own investigation without either a "referral" or a "request". Does she refuse to investigate if the wrong form is used? Is she another useless bureaucrat?

    Someone should tell her that attempting to embarass the govt is not a good strategy for long term employment.