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Federal Liberals taking the wrong lessons from provincial cash-for-access scandals


Toronto – Justin Trudeau’s federal Liberals are learning the wrong lessons from Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s fundraising scandals, says the President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU).

“Given the public outcry and the election finance reform bill making its way through the Ontario legislature, you’d think Trudeau’s Liberals would stay as far away from cash-for-access fundraising as possible,” noted Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “Instead, it seems they think the only problem in Ontario was getting caught.”

Recent media reports have laid out the lengths the Prime Minister went to to avoid public scrutiny. Trudeau gave the job of enforcing ethics rules on fundraising to senior bureaucrats that report directly to the Prime Minister’s Office, keeping them out of the reach of the Ethics Commissioner.

“That’s like putting one fox in charge of keeping the other foxes out of the chicken coop,” said Thomas. “These folks just can’t help themselves. They still believe that, as Liberals, they’re ‘entitled to their entitlements.’

“To make things even worse, the Finance Minister’s excuse when caught has been that his high-priced fundraiser was part of his budget consultation process. That’s clear evidence that he believes the only people’s opinions that matter are those who can afford the price of admission.”

The questionable fundraising practices are part of a worrisome trend at both the provincial and federal level of Liberals taking advice and direction from those who fill their campaign coffers. This includes Ed Clark’s efforts to sell off public assets at the provincial level, as well as the push to privatize federal infrastructure.

“No wonder the list of people on [federal Finance Minister] Bill Morneau’s advisory council reads like a who’s who of Canada’s one per cent,” Thomas pointed out. “The worst part is that the Liberals were elected on a promise to do better. I’m sad to see that barely a year into their mandate, it seems they’ve already forgotten the people who elected them – and the promises they made to get their votes.”

For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931