Accountability

In 2006, in response to the Liberal Party Sponsorship Scandal, Conservatives brought forward thetoughest piece of anti-corruption legislation in Canadian history, the Federal Accountability Act.

Unfortunately, the current government has shown us that these rules didn’t go far enough. At the height of the pandemic, the Liberals gave a billion dollars to a Liberal-friendly charity that awarded lucrative contracts to members of their families. They accepted illegal gifts from organizations that lobby their government. They interfered in the judicial process to help their well-connected friends. They don’t believe the rules apply to them.

We need stricter laws to require ethics in government, prevent cover-ups, and ensure that lobbying is adequately regulated.

Canada’s Conservatives will pass an Anti-Corruption Act to strengthen our legislation on ethics, lobbying, and transparency.

Ethics

Canada’s Conservatives will:
• Bring forward tough new changes to Canada’s ethics regime:

  • Toughening the Con ict of Interest Act by expanding the monetary penalties to cover all violations of the Act. Justin Trudeau and Bill Morneau were both found to have behaved unethically but faced no penalties for doing so. This needs to change.
  • Increasing the monetary penalties in the Conflict of Interest Act from a maximum of $500 to a maximum of $50,000, with the fine to be proportionate to the severity of the offence and the offender’s history and personal net worth.
  • Amending the Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament to prevent Members of Parliament from collecting speaking fees while serving in the House of Commons since speaking to Canadians is a part of the job.

Lobbying

The minimum threshold for a lobby registration to be required was created to avoid creating an undue burden on organizations that only had a one-off meeting with the government or met with governmentof cials infrequently.

Unfortunately, it has become clear that Liberal insiders have abused this rule to avoid registering their lobbying contacts.

Canada’s Conservatives will:

  • Mandate full transparency by requiring all corporations and other organizations that lobby to

    register and report their meetings; and

  • Ban lobbying by an individual or entity on a matter that is the subject of a criminal proceeding,

    to prevent a future Liberal government from repeating the SNC-Lavalin scandal.

A Conservative government will also ful l the statutory obligations that this Liberal government haslong ignored by conducting long-overdue reviews of the Lobbying Act and Access to Information Act to ensure that they are up to date and as strong as needed to earn the trust of Canadians.

Transparency: Ending Liberal Cover-Ups

Despite entering office with promises of transparency, this government has used all the tools at itsdisposal to prevent Canadians from learning the truth about scandals like SNC-Lavalin. Canadians have the right to know what their government is up to.

Canada’s Conservatives will:

  • Prohibit the application of non-disclosure agreements in circumstances where an individual is

    disclosing information to a lawful authority or seeking medical assistance or legal advice.

    This would apply across all federally regulated enterprises as well as the government.

  • Amend the Canada Evidence Act to ensure that Cabinet Confidence can no longer be used to shield government insiders from criminal investigation.

    Where the government does not want to turn over information or allow the police to interview an official, Cabinet Confidence would need to be asserted in writing by the Clerk of the Privy Council with an explanation of the reasons that the government believes Cabinet Confidence applies. The RCMP would then be able to apply to the Justice of the Federal Court to access information protected by Cabinet Confidence. The information will be provided to the RCMP if there’s a reasonable basis to believe an offence has been committed and that the information is relevant to the investigation. This new application mechanism would set a high bar to protect the principle of Cabinetcon dence and to ensure that genuine Cabinet deliberations are protected. Cabinetcon dence is meant to ensure good government, not shield illegal behaviour. These measures will safeguard our democracy against the whims of unscrupulous politicians.

  • Fix Access to Information by giving the Commissioner of Information the power to make orders to departments to release information promptly, to bring an end to the current government’s practice of endless delays that makes a mockery of the law.
  • Strengthen whistleblower protection by creating a strong federal legislative framework that will enable workers to speak up about wrongdoing without fear of reprisal.
  • Mandate that government departments, Crown Corporations, and those receiving public funds publish more data in machine-readable formats using prevailing open standards.

    Preventing Foreign Interference Through Greater Transparency

    Canada’s Conservatives will pass a Foreign Agents Registry Act requiring individuals and companies acting as agents of designated foreign principals (country, corporation, entity or individual) in a political or quasi-political capacity including lobbying, policy development, advertising, and grassroots mobilization to register. Requirements for disclosure would include the amount of payment, the nature of the relationship, and the activities performed.

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