How concerned are Canadians about ethics in politics? With the recent SNC-Lavalin scandal at the top of the agenda, what role will ethics issues play in the upcoming federal election? Some would argue that Stephen Harper’s Conservatives lost the 2015 election in part over ethics issues: the government’s role in the Senate expenses scandal, the denigration of immigrants and refugees, the Prime Minister’s attack on Chief Justice McLachlin, violations of election laws, and scandals involving individual candidates. What are the ethics issues that might impact the outcome of the 2019 election?
In this workshop, we will explore the relation between ethics and democracy and the different approaches to ethical analysis. We will take a close look at the role of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner and the Commissioner’s past and upcoming investigations of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government. We will examine the rules designed to ensure that party fundraising is ethical, particularly concerning lobbying activities. We will also explore the details of the SNC-Lavalin affair, details of the criminal code concerning fraud and bribery, as well as the expectations of independence of the Attorney General.
In October, all parties will be vulnerable to accusations that they may have broken the rules; in this workshop, participants will gain the tools they need to critically evaluate these issues for themselves.
The workshop’s readings will provide background for a fulsome discussion of these issues.