The Trudeau rule

The NDP wants to ban MPs from being paid to speak

There is no higher compliment in professional basketball than being the cause of a rule change, so Justin Trudeau should perhaps be chuffed today that the NDP wants to ban “parliamentarians from double-dipping by banning payment for work that is part of their job as an MP or Senator.” For instance, public speaking.

Back in the spring of 2013 (children, ask your parents about it), this was the most dire crisis confronting this nation. There is an argument to be made that an MP is not paid as a parliamentarian to deliver speeches outside his or her riding, but probably it is not a winning argument.




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The Trudeau rule

  1. Yes, Justin Trudeau should be very proud of the fact that a rule needs to be implemented to ensure MP’s use common sense, because he was incapable of doing so. I’m sure his mother would be quite proud!

    • In all fairness to Justin Trudeau, he did grow up accustomed to a very influential, privileged lifestyle and it must have been difficult to realize that he would not be able to live the way he was used to on the salary he was going to paid as an MP. He was a sought after public speaker and the money was easily available and he did get the okay from the Ethics Commissioner. In hindsight, had he known he was going to run for Prime Minister of the country, he likely would have made a different choice but perhaps that was not on his radar initially.

      • So, only when one decides long ago to run for PM must one learn to live with one’s past.

        And only when one has not decided, yet (!) to run for PM, one’s past can be excused.

        And you accept such an excuse?

        • Well Francien, many are not excusing that past as you well know. He is certainly dealing with it now and it has become a little troublesome.

    • Unlike Stephen Harper and his gang of campaign fund law breakers. Not much common sense in that lot.

  2. If MP’s can no longer be paid for public speaking, does this put an end to fundraising dinners? Or, is it only going to be ok to shill for the party?

    • Good question. Are political parties considered “non-profit organizations?” because there is no doubt that MP’s will still be allowed to do public speaking for free and raise money for non-profit organizations. MP’s, however, won’t be allowed to make (personal) money doing public-speaking which is part of their job description as an MP.

      • You know that’s really ridiculous. Do you really think a charity will want big D or chsrlie Angus to come speak for them at a fundraiser as someone with the profile of Trudeau ? Should he then feel obliged, compelled even to speak. The NDP are full or it.

        • I am sorry…what is ridiculous and who is “big D?”
          Do you doubt that military hero Romeo Dallaire, hockey legend Ken Dryden and our own astronaut MP, Mark Garneau get asked to speak at charitable fundraisers? My guess is they do. These people actually accomplished something. Justin Trudeau was the child of famous parents and THAT was his accomplishment and why he was a popular public speaker. As for whether MPs should feel ‘obliged’ to speak at charitable fundraisers, that would be at their discretion. Should MPs be making money off of speaking at charitable fundraisers when they are supposed to be at work in the HOC, probably not. If I ditched work to sell pharmaceutical products, I would be fired.

          • Romeo and Ken and could charge between $5000 and $10,000Garneau Gets 10,000. per speech right now, if they hit the circuit. JT can command $20,000. I spent more than a decade as a charity fundraiser. Guess who I’d pick?

            If you’re arguing that it’s unfair that celebrities get paid better than scientists and soldiers, you’re free to take it up with the Canadian public.

          • Say what??? Who cares what who can charge? The question was whether an MP can still speak at a fundraiser for free. Some MPs will still be asked to speak at fundraisers for free. Justin Trudeau as leader of his party NO LONGER is speaking at fundraisers so this whole point of yours is moot. I have no argument about what a “celebrity” MP who works a fundraiser gets paid. I don’t care. Should they be taking time off of their job at the House of Commons to make extra money on the side, probably not. It is not ethical. Yes, charitable work is good but only if you do it for free. During the flood, many nurses were doing volunteer work with the flood crisis. They weren’t paid extra because they were paid to do their regular job and were sent out by their employer (after the nurses volunteered to go). Had they taken extra pay while on the employer payroll, they would have been fired.

          • And, you’ve missed the point I was making about how you were equating social worth with popularity as a speaker. Might want to clear that partisan blockage in your frontal lobe.

    • That’s a great point. How will they be able to do anything about lawyers who still profit from their practices even while serving as MP, or entrepreneurs whose companies still run and make money while serving as MP. What about physicians like Kellie Lietch, who still practice — I think she says she does not charge but perhaps her practice bills OHIP. Real estate agents — even if not selling homes still make revenues from their company’s sales. And lest we forget — what about profits from writing books or feature articles? I kind of think the NDP are full of it on this one — just hoping to get a headline or two. But when Trudeau is in the headline, nobody talks about the NDP.

      And most of all: why aren’t charities allowed to decide who they think will best address their audiences and raise the most money for them — and hire them?

      • This post made me think, because I figured there’d have to be a distinction made between certain types of lawyering and writing, where some would be allowed and some would not. Then I realized you’d pretty much have to make the same distinctions for “making speeches”, and that Trudeau would probably then STILL fall on the side of the good on the issue.

        Thumbs down to the NDP on this measure.

        • What about royalties on previous work? What if you invented a product that is sold around the world?

          Is the prospect of flogging a long-dead horse a few more times worth the effort, time, research, costs, that would be required to create this “rule” and apply it fairly?

          • Oh, look at all the excuses you can come up with for defending Trudeau. Well done, well done.

          • I was merely pointing out that any rule that doesn’t say “oh and what trudeau does is wrong” or “MPs can’t accept $ for doing anything” probably won’t have the desired practical effect.

        • According to people like you, Trudeau will always fall on the good side on any issue. People like you will just find the right excuse for finding no fault ever with Justin.

          • Since there was not fault in this case, I found none. When there is fault, I will point it out.

          • Really! Do you realize that if this new rule will be implemented, it will only apply to Justin Trudeau since NO other MP has done the speech-giving-for-fees while being on an MP salary.

      • The wording suggests that it would only apply to taking payment for something that falls under duties of an MP – so most of your examples wouldn’t be relevant. Honestly, i think disclosure of outside sources of income should be enough and let the voters decide who crossed the line.

  3. Oh no…after a period of apparent remission, I fear this item will cause Francien to relapse.

    • If by “relapse” you mean return, then I’m in fear too. Because if she misses this one, written by her nemesis Aaron Wherry, after bleating on this very topic ad nauseum, well, I guess irony is named … shhh, it’s like Beetlejuice: don’t say it aloud!

    • Boo!

      • I see the symptoms are back, as predicted.

        • BOO!!

    • By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes … patchouli OUT!

    • Are you kidding? Francien’s active lobbying might have spurred on this move by the NDP.

      • Let me think about that for a moment – Francien: policy consultant to the NDP…

        I think I need to lie down.

        • Hahaha!

  4. Also no more swimsuit modeling, pole-dancing, for-profit twerking, or other paid Justin-like behaviour.

    • Boxing conservative senators?

  5. Forgetting about Trudeau, it seems to me that payment for speeches makes it a little too easy to
    1) skirt around financial contribution rules, and

    2) buy political influence

    Big Business wants a favour? It pays a cabinet minister a bucket load of money to give a powder puff speech so that said minister will go to bat for them. Ditto for Big Labour. Doesn’t necessarily have to be a cabinet minister, just someone who may be in a position to return the favour in the not too distant future.

    In some cases it may be possible to objectively judge the value of a speech, but I’d hazard that in a lot of cases that’s not possible. And if it’s not possible to objectively judge the value of a speech, it becomes very difficult to judge the legitimacy of the payment.

    The US is in an unfortunate situation in which big money does seem to buy politicians. Canada does not have that problem (at least for the most part). However, paying MPs for speeches does seem like it leaves the door open at least somewhat for this kind of abuse.

    • that’s definitely a strong argument for taking the matter to the Ethics Commissioner before going ahead with a speech.

    • Sometimes political representatives show up at general meetings for unions. I wonder if they are being paid.

    • You may have a point.

    • it seems to me that payment for speeches makes it a little too easy to
      1) skirt around financial contribution rules, and
      2) buy political influence

      The second maybe, but not the first. There’s a limit to how much a candidate can contribute to their own campaign too. Giving money directly to an MP wouldn’t provide for a way for said MP to use those funds for a campaign, as they’re limited as to how much of their own money they can use, I believe.

  6. The NDP….always closing the barn door after…

    • Well, it’s a good thing the NDP and not the CPC is proposing this new rule. If the CPC would have proposed such a rule, the media would have attacked the CPC for it. At least now that the NDP proposes the rule, it will be about the rule, not about the party who proposed it.

      Such is the truth about our Canadian politics and the media.

  7. Dean Del Mastro.

    The fact that trudeau’s profile is more due to good fortune than merit is irrelevant. I’m just pointing out the NDP seem to be proposing a rule designed to politically embarrass JT.
    Sure, leave it to the discretion of the individual. But JT seems to have been in a unique category. He was in demand, at least partially because he was uniquely placed to raise money for the charity in question. I see no reason to penalize him for that. Making it a personal decision of members outside of their riding seems perfectly fine. But you realize you may be limiting their capacity to raise funds.
    Agreed no member should take time to do anything personally lucrative before the duty to be in the House ( I wonder how many NDP hypocrites missed time to attend to the family business?) but I couldn’t support a rule obliging mps to attend fundraisers on demand.

    • Oh no, I think you misunderstood me. I said, they would never stop MPs from speaking at charitable fundraisers (for free). I certainly NEVER said they would FORCE MPs to speak at charitable fundraisers. I believe though that Mark Garneau spoke a lot for free and I bet Romeo Dallaire did too. They would be popular as would Ken Dryden. Justin Trudeau is popular among a certain age demographic but those other guys are as well.

  8. There is no higher compliment in professional basketball than being the cause of a rule change

    Great comment Aaron.

    Does that mean we should eventually give credit to Duffy, Wallin, Brazeau, etc., once the Senate introduces whatever rule changes it’s going to make w.r.t. the various expenses scandals?

    Should we be praising the Liberals for Adscam creating the Accountability Act? “Way to go guys! You caused a whole new piece of legislation to be created!”

    Dude. Not all rule changes are done out of respect. Most are the opposite.

    But, you know…it’s Trudeau. Way to find the positive.

    • The Accountability Act was a joke, but the Libs actually should get SOME credit for the Gomery inquiry.

      • Spoken like a true partisan.

      • Because no money was recovered, not a single politician was charged (only civil servants and ad execs), and Chretien played around with a bunch of golf balls? The Gomery inquiry accomplished nothing.

    • Way to shriek while the irony flies over your head.

  9. It seems to me that the very challenging part of this proposal that makes it, in my mind, unreaslistic to implement, is that to ban payment for work that is part of an MP’s job, one must first exhaustively list the duties an MP must do.
    Does a job description for a Member of Parliament exist? Can one realistically think one can be created that is an exhaustive list of what an MP truly does?
    As an aside, it strikes me (and this is reflected in other comments) that if one is to ban payment for speeches made to the profit of the individual, one must also ban payment for speeches paid to the profit of the party. Good luck with that.

    • Duffy is also in trouble for speaking at party events while claiming senate time. People with common sense (which Duffy doesn’t have!) understand that double dipping is wrong.

      What Trudeau did was double dipping. He did not show up at the House to deliver speeches on issues at hand but instead skipped the House to then go give speeches somewhere else for a fee. NO other MP has done so. Only Trudeau has done so.

      May I also point out, that when three MP’s gave speeches at a union gathering, that it was only Trudeau who charged a fee for his speech, while the other two MP’s at the same event, did NOT charge a fee for giving their speeches.

      Don’t overlook what really happened.

      • Uh . . . No. There is no “Senate time”.

        Duffy’s double dipping in connection with speeches consisted of claiming travel expenses from the Senate for giving those speeches,where those expenses were already being paid by the organizations that asked him to speak.

        Your example makes it sound like you think they have a punch clock over there; I could just see it now, Duffy calling Pam: “Hey Pam, could you punch my card for me? But just do it when no-one’s watching, OK?”

        • Yes, there is senate time.

          • Ah, no. Duffy charged expenses to the senate that he incurred for the Conservative Party.

            It’s not that hard to understand.

          • Thank you for reading and responding to my post. I appreciate it.

      • The Toronto Blue Jays need a new catcher and second baseman this offseason.

        • Thank you for responding to my post. I appreciate it.

          • My post is no less connected to yours than yours was to mine.
            Glad to elevate the discussion.

          • Thank you for responding to my post. I appreciate it. :)

  10. Wow, what a joke the NDP come across as.

    They are basically discriminating against public speakers and fundraisers.

    • The real Nikola Tesla was a smart man. At least he understood the proper meaning of ‘currency’.

      • Speaking of jokes….

        • I don’t think it funny at all for you to take up a smart man’s name to make you look good. Sadly, you don’t understand the real joke.

          The joke is on you, man! Who on earth needs to use another man’s name in order to create a presence?

          • Perhaps you should propose a new law banning people from taking a smart man’s name as their internet moniker.

          • duh

  11. Duffy getting a cheque from Nigel Wright was also legal, just like Trudeau’s double dipping. Seems as though your reaction to the two is a little bit different. What a surprise.

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