The Boudria precedent

by Aaron Wherry

The NDP notes that on May 23, 2002, the leader of the opposition stood in the House and asked for a government minister’s resignation.

Under the circumstances, I want to know if the minister of public works has done the honourable thing and offered his resignation, and has the Prime Minister done the right thing and accepted it?

The minister in this case was Don Boudria, who had confessed to staying in the luxury chalet of an individual who did business with Mr. Boudria’s department. The leader of the opposition at the time was Stephen Harper.

Christian Paradis told the House yesterday that no lobbying took place during his stay at Marcel Aubut’s hunting lodge, but government officials now say the topic of Quebec City arena did come up.

Speaking with reporters after QP yesterday, Thomas Mulcair said he is eager to hear what the Prime Minister thinks of the variously embattled Industry Minister.

I’m simply calling upon Prime Minister Harper to clarify the situation. There have been several files involving this minister in recent weeks and I think that it’s his duty as a statesman to come forward and explain whether he thinks that in the light of all the information that’s become public and it’s not just the issues involving Mr. Jaffer or the issues involving rentals or the issues involving now this trip, there are even simpler political issues like moving a centre with jobs from one riding in Rimouski because it’s no longer – you know, it’s not a Conservative riding, moving that down to his riding where it’s not even connected to the people. This is 1950s style politics so I want Mr. Harper to say clearly whether he’s comfortable with that Minister and all the things that have become of it…

I’m looking forward to having the Prime Minister of Canada here in the Parliament of Canada saying whether or not he considers with regard to all of those factors whether or not this minister continues to have his confidence and whether he therefore considers all of this behaviour to be acceptable or not.




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The Boudria precedent

  1. Paradis doesn’t have to worry too much. We accept that Quebec pols are corrupt – ’twas ever thus – and our msm will do everything it can to keep a lid on any burgeoning scandal. 

    In UK, msm has absolutely hammered Government for influence peddling while Canadian msm will continue to focus on crank phone calls from a year ago that they couldn’t be bothered to worry about when first reported during election campaign. 

    Robert Fife ~ Twitter:
    Ethics Czar Mary Dawson was asked if she’d encountered anyone with so many complaints as Paradis: “ah…probably not.”

    Maclean’s ~ Quebec: The Most Corrupt Province
    As politicians and experts from every facet of the political spectrum told Maclean’s, the history of corruption is sufficiently long and deep in Quebec that it has bred a culture of mistrust of the political class. It raises an uncomfortable question: why is it that politics in Canada’s bête noire province seem perpetually rife with scandal?

    • I am profoundly saddened by this comment.

  2. I was not aware that Chretien had a similar problem with a Minister who did not know when to say No Thanks.
    Since we think it is appropriate to tarnish the memory of Boudria`s stellar parliamentary career as a comparable to Paradis, then we should also agree that the punishment handed out to Boudria by Chretien should be the standard used by Harper on Paradis.
    I cannot imagine why Mr. Wherry did not finish his analogy and tell us what ever happened to Boudria. Possibly he could edit his post and finish the story. 

    • From wiki but don’t know how accurate it is.

      “In March 2002, he stayed at a weekend resort owned by Groupe Everest, a prominent recipient of departmental funds. The trip was paid for by Boudria’s son, and the minister was not directly accused of a conflict of interest. He was nonetheless deemed to have shown poor judgement, and was reassigned as Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons on May 26.”

      • If your research is accurate and the follow up to Mr. Wherry`s analogy would be Mr. Paradis become Government Leader in the House of Commons, then I would have to disagree strongly.

      • That’s accurate. He was moved back to Government House Leader in the same cabinet shuffle that kicked Art Eggleton out of cabinet for giving a contract to his ex girlfriend.

        http://politicswatch.com/cabinet_shuffle_05-27-02.htm

        This particular case looks like more of an optics problem than anything else, as it doesn’t appear that any business actually happened…but Paradis already has no business in cabinet after his office was caught systematically and illegally interfering with ATI requests.

        • Same optics as Boudria. It’s a lack of judgment. I think the precedent is that Boudria was taken away from Public Works, a ministry that oversees large expenditures of government money, to minister of state, a ministry without portfolio.

          • Well, I kind of agree but I’d argue Boudria’s case was slightly worse optics…the guy he was visiting did lots of government business with Public Works, and was also a donor to the Liberal party, during a time when political donations were allowed to be more generous than they are today. This was just the Nordiques owner trying (and failing) to secure federal funds for the arena project, so there is really not much anyone can point to to say that anything untoward happened.

            Unfortunately, with so little choose from behind Paradis in terms of Quebec representation, we’re probably stuck with him, though I’d certainly welcome a similar demotion.

  3. Well, there is that one small niggling difference between Paradis and Boudria – Boudria’s dept. gave lots of contracts to Groupe Everst, Paradis’ department did not give Aubut arena funding.

    Still, the optics issue is there and Boudria did get lightly slapped on the wrist by the lil’ guy, albeit a week or so after the s(&^ hit the fan.  I suggest it’s only fair to defer further discussions about how Harper deals with this until this time next week.  I don’t expect the regulars here to agree.

  4. I think it’s pretty sad that Harper’s defenders are reduced to arguing that the current government is no worse than the Chretien government. 

    • I don`t recall anyone identifying themselves as Harper Defenders.
      My problem is with using the precedent of a poor mode of punishment by Chretien as the standard Harper should use.
      Rather than showing your partisan stripes you would be more useful if you would show your sadness toward all Ministers who show poor judgement, as opposed to your sadness to Harper Defenders.

      • You’re sounding a little defensive, Ron. If you’re not a Harper Defender then the comment was not directed at you. 

        By my reading of Wherry’s post, he is not contrasting Harper with Chretien he is contrasting Harper as opposition leader and Harper as PM. People are trying to pick apart the analogy of Paradis vs. Boudria which is, in my view, missing the point. The parallels between the two circumstances are striking (if not exact), but the vastly differing reactions of Mr. Harper to the two cases are more striking still. These diametrically opposed reactions, it seems to me, can not be explained merely by the passing of time and the gaining of wisdom.  

        • Actually I thought you were accusing Mr, Wherry for being a Harper Defender. It was he who said the Boudria case was a precedent to the Paradis one.

          I would like to think we can express our sadness about irresponsible behavior of all Ministers, as Mr. Wherry has done, without referring to him as a Harper Defender.

          • Actually, I was intending to reply to GWF but this software is glitchy and often makes random decisions about where a response should go. I certainly don’t take Wherry for a fan of Mr. Harper, I have been around a little longer than that.

    • Perhaps you didn’t notice the title of Wherry’s post.  I’d invite you to scroll up, re-read the title, reflect on your comment a little bit, then consider an edit.

      • I only edit for typos and the most glaring grammatical miscues. I let my arguments stand on their own. 

  5. This blog post is a bit old now, but I found while searching for “Harper-Boudria Quote”.

    CTV has an even better quote from Harper on this situation, “”I actually thought the Boudria case was more serious, with the
    misleading of the House, the judgment involved. I think both ministers
    should have been sent to the back bench,” Harper said.Read more: http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/CTVNewsAt11/20020527/ctvnews867911/#ixzz1rxCV6zGUHow can he stand for Peter MacKay now?

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