Ottawa, June 14, 2018
Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion today reported on two inquiries under the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons. Both involved the conduct of a Member of Parliament in connection with two inquiry requests that he made concerning two other MPs.
"Several provisions of the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons govern inquiries and inquiry requests," Commissioner Dion said. "One, which took effect in October 2015, limits when a Member who has requested an inquiry may publicly comment on it."
Subsection 27(2.1) of the Code prohibits a Member who has requested an inquiry from making any public comments about the inquiry until the Commissioner confirms that the Member who is the subject of it has received a copy of the complaint, or until 14 days after the Commissioner received the request, whichever is sooner.
On March 27, 2018, Commissioner Dion received a letter from Mr. Charlie Angus, M.P., asking him to investigate the conduct of the Honourable Seamus O'Regan, P.C., M.P. Commissioner Dion learned that same day that Mr. Angus' letter had been posted on his Member of Parliament website and linked in a tweet sent from his Twitter account.
On March 28, 2018, Commissioner Dion received another letter from Mr. Angus, this one asking him to investigate the conduct of Mr. Raj Grewal, M.P. Later that day, Mr. Dion learned that Mr. Angus had discussed this inquiry request with a journalist. The resulting news article had been posted on the media outlet's website that same day and a link to the article was posted on Mr. Angus' Facebook page.
In both cases, Commissioner Dion found that Mr. Angus contravened subsection 27(2.1) of the Code by commenting publicly on his inquiry request before the Commissioner confirmed that the Member who was the subject of it had received a copy of the complaint or until 14 days after the Commissioner received the request. Commissioner Dion determined there were no mitigating circumstances in either case. However, because Mr. Angus had apologized, Commissioner Dion did not recommend the imposition of any sanctions.
"I hope these reports will help educate Members of the House of Commons about their responsibilities under the Code when it comes to when they can publicly comment on a request for an inquiry that they have made to my Office," Mr. Dion said. "I believe these reports are quite timely, because the provision of the Code governing when Members may speak publicly about their inquiry request is relatively new."
Please click on the following links to read the Angus Report I and the Angus Report II.
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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