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Tories urge minister to return money from fundraiser

Conservatives take Liberals to task over Jody Wilson-Raybould’s fundraiser with lawyers, which she says was cleared by ethics commissioner


 
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Jody Wilson-Raybould answers a question during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Tuesday, Jan.26, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS.Adrian Wyld

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Jody Wilson-Raybould answers a question during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Tuesday, Jan.26, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS.Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA – The opposition Conservatives are demanding that the Liberal justice minister give back the money from a Toronto fundraiser last week.

Jody Wilson-Raybould attended the $500-a-head evening with lawyers at Torys LLP, a prominent Bay Street law firm.

Wilson-Raybould says she cleared it beforehand with federal conflict of interest and ethics commissioner Mary Dawson, and was there in her capacity as an ordinary MP, not a cabinet minister.

“What we talked about was Canadian politics, being involved in politics and ensuring that everybody has the ability to have their views heard,” she said Monday in the House of Commons.

Alberta Conservatives Blaine Calkins and Michael Cooper, however, weren’t satisfied.

“Does the justice minister really expect Canadians to believe that high-priced Ontario lawyers paid 500 bucks a plate to meet with the member for Vancouver Granville?” Calkins asked during question period.

Cooper called it a “sordid” affair.

“Last week, the minister attended a pay-to-play fundraiser in which attendees were invited to pay in return for access to the minister,” he said.

“The minister of justice has a duty not only to be independent, but to be perceived as independent.”

Wilson-Raybould said every MP takes part in fundraising.

“I take my ethical responsibilities incredibly seriously,” she said, adding that she would never put herself in a conflict of interest.

Cooper urged her to apologize and “return to pay-to-play cash.”

Government House leader Romeo LeBlanc defended the minister, describing the fundraiser as legitimate and the Conservative attacks as “feigned indignation.”

“The Liberal party raises money in accordance with the principles of the Canada Elections Act,” LeBlanc said.

Cooper demanded to see the guest list from the soiree. Leblanc reminded him that donations are reported publicly every quarter.

When the Liberals were in opposition, they went after such potential conflicts.

In January 2014, Ralph Goodale, then deputy Liberal leader and now minister of public safety, accused Conservative heritage minister Shelley Glover of crossing the line with a Winnipeg fundraiser that included arts community stakeholders.

Goodale said the money should be repaid and Glover ended up not accepting the donations.


 
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Tories urge minister to return money from fundraiser

  1. Does the LPC seriously think this passes the smell test? The hosting law firm had a senior partner who was registered to lobby Justice Canada (among other government agencies). Said senior partner deactivated his registration 1 day before the event. Wow, what coincidental timing, eh?
    See: h$$p://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/liberal-party-fundraising-ethics-1.3525751

    Not even considering the registered lobbyist senior partner, the CPC is 110% correct when it says: “Does the justice minister really expect Canadians to believe that high-priced Ontario lawyers paid 500 bucks a plate to meet with the member for Vancouver Granville?”

    If these high-priced Ontario lawyers want to make a donation to the LPC out of the goodness of their hearts, they can do like the rest of us peons and call the 1-800 number and make a credit card donation.
    If the J.M. believes she has important words of wisdom to impart, she can host a free or nominal cost session, or just put up a video on her web site.

    And, the irony of charging $500 a pop to discuss “… ensuring that everybody has the ability to have their views heard” is just mind blowing.

    Come on, LPC, do the honourable thing and admit a mistake was made, give back the money, and tighten up the rules to disallow this sort of crap in the future.

  2. Come on down. Get your $500 ante into to get on the list for judicial appointments. No pay, no play!

    From Trudeau’s Code of Conduct”
    “Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries should ensure that the solicitation of political contributions on their behalf does not target: departmental stakeholders,” or – See more at: http://pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2015/11/27/open-and-accountable-government#sthash.JCe3TtIS.dpuf

    P.S. The “Honourable” Justice Minister’s husband is continuing to act as a lobbyist while she serves. Unlike Rob Silver who gave up lobbying while his wife serves in the PMO.

    We have our own Bill and Hillary, the king and queen of political graft.

  3. But…but…but…..we’re LIBERALS.

    It doesn’t count when WE do it. Besides, times are tough now that the PM isn’t accepting $30,000 per pop to speak at charities. As PM, he’s expected to do it for free. And that isn’t fair at all is it?

    Canada,…er…the LIBERALS are back.

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