June 4th 2021 - The Ethics Commissioner, Ariane Mignolet, acknowledges the vote of the members of the National Assembly who voted this morning on the "inquiry report concerning the Minister of Economy and Innovation and MNA for Terrebonne, Pierre Fitzgibbon".
The sanction recommended in the report tabled on June 2, 2021, did not take effect as it did not obtain the support of two-thirds of the members of Parliament. The Commissioner wishes to point out, however, that the ultimate objective behind this recommendation was, as indicated in paragraph 122 of the inquiry report, to put an end to a continuing breach of the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct for Members of the National Assembly (hereinafter the "Code"). In this regard, the Commissioner welcomes the gesture of the Member for Terrebonne to take the necessary steps to comply with the Act and offers him her full availability and cooperation to assist him in this process. To ensure and maintain the confidence of citizens in their institutions, it is essential that the Code be applied equally to all elected officials.
In addition, the amendment to the Code was discussed following the tabling of the inquiry report. In this regard, the Commissioner would like to point out that the bill is the expression of the unanimous vision of parliamentary ethics and professional conduct that the legislator had when it was adopted in December 2010. Judiciously, a review exercise has been provided for and requires the Commissioner to report every 5 years on the implementation of the Code and whether it should be amended. This exercise is relevant for any new institution, but is particularly relevant to parliamentary ethics and professional conduct. To accomplish its objectives of maintaining the confidence of citizens in their representatives, the Code must be able to evolve according to the expectations of the population and the values of the society it should reflect. This is an essential consideration, both to ensure the support of all parliamentarians, regardless of their background, and to ensure the credibility of the institution responsible for implementing it.
Thus, the Commissioner takes this opportunity to invite the members of the National Assembly to begin as soon as possible the study of the report on the implementation of the Code for the period 2015-2019, tabled in December 2019. It reports on her findings regarding the application and interpretation of the Code and contains 22 recommendations, presented as elements to be improved, reflections to be initiated or proposals for modification, concerning, among other things, subjects on which a consensus already exists. Indeed, some of the recommendations already proposed by her predecessor in 2014 had gained the support of the members of the Committee on Institutions, during the study of his report. These include the introduction of mandatory training, the ability to provide advice to individuals who wish to run for office, and the prohibition of retaliation against a person who testifies or provides information to the Commissioner.
The Commissioner offers her full cooperation to the National Assembly in addressing the issues presented in her report as well as any other concerns identified by parliamentarians, if any. In closing, she reminds us that the Code has a common objective for all elected officials, regardless of their political affiliation, namely to maintain the confidence of citizens in their representatives.
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Communications and Institutional Relations Advisor