|A breath of fresh air in Ottawa|
“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.”
Canadians will contrast Trudeau's willingness to raise the bar on openness and accountability with the reluctance of Prime Minister Stephen Harper to behave consistent with the conventions of our Parliamentary democracy.
Instead of stonewalling, Trudeau listened to the concerns voiced about the one charity that had not managed to raise money from the speaking engagement, all the way to the suggestion by Premier Brad Wall that MPs and Senators should not expect to be paid talking to Canadians about matters they were elected to Parliament to carry out.
|PM Stephen Harper|
Premier Wall's suggestion went beyond the current rules applied to MPs by the Ethics Commissioner, and Trudeau is to be commended for taking up Wall's suggestion to comply with a higher standard.
It is now up to all MPs and Senators to follow Trudeau's lead, and adopt the standard proposed by Premier Wall.
And, of course, it would be fitting for our current prime minister to endorse the Wall standard, and enforce it for government MPs and Senators.
What a breath of fresh air!
One way for the charities to respond to Trudeau's offer would be for him to speak at further fundraising events for them, without any payment, so that they may piggyback off his popularity and raise further funds for their good work.