Tories file conflict of interest complaint against Justin Trudeau

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics

Parliament is recessed for the summer, but that's not stopping Tories from continuing their attacks on Liberal leader Justin Trudeau.

Conservative MP Ben Lobb has written a letter to Federal Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson asking her to investigate whether Trudeau broke conflict of interest rules by voting against bill Bill C-377 – the union financial transparency bill — even though he has accepted $35,000 in speaking fees from unions since becoming an MP.

"Under the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons, Members like Justin Trudeau are banned from acting in any way which could cause a real or apparent conflict of interest, and from using their position as a Member to further their own private interests," an email distributed to Conservative staffers and supporters notes.

"MP Lobb wrote to the Commissioner to raise concerns that Justin Trudeau may be using his position as a Member of Parliament to advance the interests of groups who have made direct, substantial, personal financial payments to the Member.

"In his letter, MP Lobb specifically cited the $35,000 that Justin Trudeau has accepted in personal payments from unions while serving as a Member of Parliament. Justin Trudeau is now leading the charge against efforts to increase the level of financial transparency required by these unions."

Bill C-377 — a bill that would require all unions to to file detailed financial reports and post them online — passed in the House of Commons and is currently being debated in the Senate with the Liberals opposing it.

[ Related: Justin Trudeau vows to 'make things right' with charities, evokes memory of his father on Father’s Day ]

This is just the latest salvo fired at Trudeau. The Tories have been hammering Trudeau for weeks, for earning $277,000 for speaking engagements since becoming an MP in 2008. A good chunk of the money was earned from charities and publicly-funded organizations.

On Tuesday, however, the party faced a media backlash when it was learned that they were pushing Trudeau-stories to reporters. They also had some egg on their faces when news outlets reported that two Conservative senators — Jacques Demers and Larry Smith — also earn speaking fees even while sitting as legislators.

[ Related: PMO caught pushing the Trudeau speaking engagement story ]

For his part, Trudeau says that when he did his speeches, he doesn't talk politics. In March, he told the Ottawa Citizen that his speeches were about youth issues, education and the environment. He also vetted his speaking business through the Parliamentary ethics watchdog upon being elected to the House of Commons.

(Photo courtesy of Reuters)

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