After a CTV interview in which he said he was “willing to pay back all the money, if that’s what it comes to,” Justin Trudeau has issued the following statement this afternoon.
“Political leadership is about raising the bar on openness and transparency. Canadians faith in public office holders and politics has been seriously shaken in recent weeks by the ethics scandal rooted in a $90,000 payment by the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff to a sitting legislator, and the continued secrecy of the Harper Conservatives
As a Member of Parliament, as a Leadership Candidate, and now as Leader of my Party, I have taken every opportunity to raise the bar when it comes to openness and accountability. As a Member of Parliament, I proactively sought and rigorously followed advice from the Ethics Commissioner regarding my personal financial affairs. As a leadership candidate, I voluntarily disclosed the full value of my financial holdings, and my sources of income. As Leader of my Party, I made raising the bar on transparency and openness my first major policy announcement, so that Canadians can better hold their leaders accountable.
For me, transparency isn’t a slogan or a tactic; it’s a way of doing business. I trust Canadians. I value their opinions. And now that I’ve heard them, I’m going to act.
It is in this spirit that I have decided to reach out to all the organizations that hired me as a professional speaker while I was a Member of Parliament to engage with them to find a satisfactory solution. I am open to exploring all options with them to ensure that they are satisfied with the outcome.
I rigorously ensured that my professional income while serving as a Member of Parliament followed both the spirit and the letter of every rule governing Parliamentarians. However, I believe that leadership means setting a higher standard, not just meeting the existing one.
In short, Canadians hold me to a higher standard, as they should. I accept and endorse that expectation. I will continue to work hard to maintain it.
I seek to represent all Canadians as their Prime Minister, and the Prime Minister should raise the bar on openness and accountability, not simply meet it.”