Ottawa, March 10, 2020
Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion today released the Wernick Report under the Conflict of Interest Act, on a matter referred to this Office by the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner.
In late September 2019, Public Sector Integrity Commissioner Joe Friday referred to Commissioner Dion an allegation of a conflict of interest against Mr. Michael Wernick, former Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet. When such referrals are made, section 68 of the Conflict of Interest Act requires Commissioner Dion to issue a report, no matter the outcome. The report must set out the facts in question, the analysis of the situation and the conclusion, whether or not an examination is launched.
It was alleged that Mr. Wernick may have contravened section 9 of the Act in matters raised during the Trudeau II Report investigation. In that investigation, Commissioner Dion reviewed the actions of Mr. Wernick and others. He concluded they were acting on the direction of the Prime Minister and could not have influenced the Attorney General simply by virtue of their position. Commissioner Dion therefore determined he did not have any reason to believe Mr. Wernick had contravened the Act in those matters.
As a result, Commissioner Dion has decided not to launch an examination of Mr. Wernick's actions.
Quotes from Commissioner Dion
“After reviewing information related to this matter, I have no reason to believe Mr. Michael Wernick, former Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet, contravened the Conflict of Interest Act on the basis of the alleged facts. I now consider the matter closed. My report, like all reports under the Act, has been delivered to the Prime Minister and is now public."
“I thank Public Sector Integrity Commissioner Joe Friday for referring this matter to me. The report should help Canadians understand how section 68 of the Conflict of Interest Act ensures transparency as it requires me to not only review referrals but also issue a public report on all matters referred to me under that provision."
The Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner was created under the Federal Accountability Act. The Commissioner applies the Conflict of Interest Act for public office holders and the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons.
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