ethics commish: making things worse since 2004

William Kaplan has a good op-ed in today’s Globe, in which he questions ethics comissioner Mary Dawson’s ruling that Robert Thibault should have recused himself from his position as lead questioner on the ethics committee’s Mulroney-Schreiber proceedings. Why did Dawson so conclude? Because Mulroney was suing Thibault at the time. Kaplan does a nice job of taking apart Dawson’s reasoning, and adds the kicker that if anyone should recuse herself it is Dawson, given her Meech-era ties to Mulroney.

The position of Ethics Commissioner remains the most problematic of all officers of parliament. Bernard Shapiro was not a good first choice as EC, and his inadequacies served to mask the underlying institutional problems. I remain unconvinced that the position of ethics commissioner is a necessary or even useful addition to parliamentary democracy. The points I raise here stand up pretty well, I think.

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