PRIME MINISTER SHOULDN'T ADD TO UNETHICAL SENATE, SWITCHING MPs SHOULD RESIGN THEIR SEATS
Tuesday, August 9, 2005
OTTAWA - Today, Democracy Watch criticized Prime Minister Paul Martin's appointment of more senators as an unethical action that violates Martin's past pledges to democratize his appointment process and Martin's stated position that the Senate needs to be reformed. Democracy Watch also called on Belinda Stronach and David Kilgour to resign and face a by-election for leaving their respective parties.
"As in March, Paul Martin again violated his own pledge not to practise politics as usual by appointing Liberals to the Senate, by saying nothing about the dangerously flawed Senate ethics code, and by failing to propose concrete measures to democratize the Senate," said Duff Conacher, Coordinator of Democracy Watch. "As a result, the Senate remains an undemocratic and unethical haven for people who can, legally, act as inside-government lobbyists for corporations and other private interest groups."
Among other appointees, Martin appointed Dennis Dawson, against whom Democracy Watch filed an ethics complaint in June 2002 because he was lobbying the Department of Finance for nine corporate and government clients while also working for Martin's campaign for the leadership of the Liberal Party (as a result of the Liberals' negligence and deeply unethical attitude, that and seven other Democracy Watch ethics complaints have yet to receive a fair, impartial hearing). Martin also appointed well-known Liberal fundraiser Rod Zimmer from Winnipeg.
In March, Martin appointed former Liberal Cabinet minister Art Eggleton among others to the Senate, even though Eggleton was found guilty in 2003 of violating the federal Cabinet's ethics rules.
"Martin's and the Liberal Party's cronies will be at home in the Senate with its loophole-filled ethics code and lapdog Senate Ethics Officer, as they have all supported unethical, undemocratic party leaders over the past decade," said Conacher.
Democracy Watch called on Belinda Stronach and David Kilgour to resign because they are continuing to sit in House of Commons seats they were not elected to fulfill. The rule should be clear that switching MPs must resign and face a by-election if an election is not going to happen within 30 days. Democracy Watch believes that both MPs have violated federal ethics rules by switching and not resigning, and it plans to file complaints against both MPs.
Democracy Watch will continue to push for long-overdue, much-needed changes to the Senate's structure and operations, and will continue to file and pursue ethics complaints until they are all reviewed fairly and impartially.
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FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Duff Conacher, Coordinator of Democracy Watch
Tel: (613) 241-5179
Democracy Watch's Government Ethics Campaign
Democracy Watch's Voter Rights Campaign
Democracy Watch homepage