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NDP call for more accountable Parliament
The federal New Democrats are proposing new measures to make Parliament more accountable.
It proposes prohibiting parliamentarians from sitting on the boards of corporations, banning payment for work that is part of an MP or senator's work, such as giving speeches, and enshrining ethics rules into law and giving the ethics commissioner the power to penalize those who break the rules.
Burnaby-New Westminster NDP MP Peter Julian said such ethical breaches take place "regularly" among MPs and senators.
"We've got dozens of senators that are on corporate boards," Julian said, noting the NDP is talking about abolishing the senate which is "a mess."
In the meantime, the first step to make it more accountable is to say, "no you can't be on corporate boards when you're supposedly doing the people's business," he said, adding it would not affect those involved in their own family businesses.
There are also a few MPs in this situation, he said. But "it's mainly senators that are sitting on corporate boards while they're voting on legislation that often impacts those same companies."
The proposed rule about double-dipping comes out of issues such as Liberal leader Justin Trudeau charging for speaking engagements while already being paid as an MP.
"I've always refused to accept any money for any speeches I give because taxpayers already pay my salary," said Julian, who added there have even been a few examples of MPs who have accepted payment for doing casework, one of the regular duties of an MP.
The third proposal would be to give the ethics commissioner some teeth in enforcing the rules because right now he has "no power," he said. The NDP is proposing fines of $5,000 to $10,000 for infractions so "you couldn't just treat the whole issue of ethics with impunity."
While the fines may seem on the lower end, it would be a start.
"This would represent a sea change and I think most Canadians think they would be very reasonable proposals. Now we'll have to see if the other parties and the Conservative government is actually willing to move forward with this."
If they're not willing, the NDP has other tools it can use to try and bring them forward, Julian said.
"They're no brainers."