(OTTAWA) After his appointment as Ottawa’s temporary ethics guardian outraged the opposition, Minister LeBlanc’s sister-in-law, Martine Richard, decided to step down from the post.
“On behalf of the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, I inform you that effective today, April 19, 2023, Martine Richard has notified the Privy Council Office (PCO) that she ‘will no longer perform his duties as acting commissioner,’ a statement said.
The sister of Minister LeBlanc’s wife will continue to hold the position of senior general counsel, it was specified in this statement attributed to the director of communications of the commissioner’s office, Melanie Rushworth.
Due to the vacancy, “there are decisions that the Commissariat cannot act on due to the duties that only an individual holding the position of commissioner can perform” under the laws, she added.
Mrs. Richard’s nomination at the end of March had been fired upon by the opposition.
“One can almost imagine the conversation between the Liberal Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, who was found guilty of violating the Conflict of Interest Act, and the Prime Minister, who violated the Act twice,” mocked the March 30, Chef Pierre Poilievre during question period.
“They’re like, ‘How could we stop being convicted? I know ! By appointing my sister-in-law Ethics Commissioner! What a plan! It’s concrete!” . The problem is that soon they will run out of friends and family,” he quipped.
The nomination process for the next Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner was launched on March 28, 2023 by the Privy Council Office.
The post of commissioner has been vacant since the departure of Mario Dion on February 21 for health reasons. Appointed by the Trudeau government, he had been in the saddle as an independent agent of Parliament for five years.
While in office, he tapped the knuckles of several Liberal cabinet ministers, including Justin Trudeau himself, whom he harshly blamed in 2019 for inappropriately pressuring Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould in the SNC-Lavalin affair.
Also singled out were Minister Mary Ng, who awarded contracts to her friend Amanda Alvaro’s public relations firm, and Minister Dominic LeBlanc, who placed himself in a conflict of interest situation by approving a fishing permit to a company that employed a cousin of his wife.