Illness no excuse for ethics transgressions
Liberal MP Dominic Leblanc has been on medical leave since stepped down from his cabinet position in April 2019. The New Brunswick MP is being treated for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. During treatment, his immune system is vulnerable, but his progress has been very positive.
The Conflict of Interest Act states that ministers and others cannot accept free non-commercial flights except in exceptional circumstances (generally considered to be emergencies in remote locations) or with the commissioner's approval.
By widening his interpretation of "exceptional", Mario Dion, the Trudeau-appointed Ethics Commissioner, had pre-approved all private flights for the NB MP. Leblanc announced last month that he will run again after his treatment, saying that "doctors are extremely happy with the results to date."
Democracy Watch notes that Leblanc had options available that did not include accepting the June 13 gift-flight from a lobbyist.
There is a sense that things are too cozy in New Brunswick – that the Irving family has too much influence on media and politics. NB MP Dominic LeBlanc should have known that accepting a free flight from the Irvings would blow up, writes John Ivison.
Duff Conacher, co-founder of Democracy Watch says ethics commissioner Mario Dion erred in pre-approving LeBlanc's private trip from Moncton to Montreal aboard an Irving plane, to see a doctor for cancer treatment. Conacher said LeBlanc should have instead chartered a private plane and paid for it himself, rather than accept a gift from the owner of a company that regularly lobbies the federal government.
Conacher says LeBlanc should have instead chartered a private plane and paid for it himself, rather than accept a gift from the owner of a company that regularly lobbies the federal government.