Ethics Complaint Filed Against NDP MP Pat Martin
Ottawa (February 10, 2013) – Conservative Member of Parliament, Erin O'Toole (Durham) filed a complaint with the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner asking her to investigate a possible conflict of interest involving NDP MP Pat Martin.
In a letter, Mr. O'Toole requested that the Ethics Commissioner review the "Pat Martin Legal Defence Fund" and a number of questions related to fundraising efforts related to the fund.
"Members of Parliament have an obligation to speak responsibly outside the chamber and he is well aware of this." said Mr. O'Toole, "I have asked for certain fundraising efforts to be examined to ensure the rules to keep corporate and union money out of politics are not being circumvented and the ethics rules are being respected."
Media reports have suggested that the Legal Defence Fund has received a $10,000 donation from a union and promotion of the Fund has many of the hallmarks of political fundraising despite the claims that donations to the Fund are not political donations. Under Canada's Elections Act, unions are ineligible contributors for political donations and the maximum any one person can donate is $1,200 per year.
"In the past, the NDP has been caught accepting illegal union donations," said Mr. O'Toole, "even if a gift is reported to the ethics commissioner, it may still be prohibited if it could reasonably be seen to influence the member. The circumstances surrounding this Fund deserve careful examination."
Under the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons, enforced by the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, a Member of Parliament is prohibited to "accept, directly or indirectly, any gift or other benefit, except compensation authorized by law, that might reasonably be seen to have been given to influence the Member in the exercise of a duty or function of his or her office."