Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Peter Kent Profile
CPC (ON)
View Peter Kent Profile
2019-08-21 13:01
Thank you, Chair.
Good afternoon, colleagues. You'll recall that on January 10, 2018, this committee met in a special session with the former Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson, enabling her to brief us on “The Trudeau Report”, which turned out to be Trudeau report number one, the results of her investigation into the Prime Minister's illegal vacation.
Ms. Dawson spent two hours with us, providing important relevant details on how she came to find the Prime Minister guilty of four violations of the Conflict of Interest Act. The findings of “The Trudeau Report” number one detailed unacceptable ethical lapses by the Prime Minister. However, Trudeau report number two, the scathing report released just last week by current Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion, details many more serious violations of the Conflict of Interest Act, up to and including, by any reasonable measure, attempted obstruction of justice or as Commissioner Dion concludes, actions “contrary to the constitutional principles of prosecutorial independence and the rule of law.”
This is why, colleagues, Mr. Gourde and I wrote the following letter to the chair of our committee, Mr. Zimmer:
Yesterday, the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner released the “Trudeau II Report”. The report found “The Prime Minister, directly and through his senior officials, used various means to exert influence over Ms. Wilson-Raybould. The authority of the Prime Minister and his office was used to circumvent, undermine and ultimately attempt to discredit the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions as well as the authority of Ms. Wilson-Raybould as the Crown's chief law officer.”
This is incredibly concerning. These findings show that Justin Trudeau used the power of his office to reward his friends and to punish his critics.
This is a grave situation. Not only is Mr. Trudeau the first Prime Minister to have been found guilty of breaking the law, he is a repeat offender.
Canadians deserve fulsome answers to the many remaining questions. We ask that you urgently convene a meeting of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics for the purposes of receiving a briefing from the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner.
We would be prepared to move the following motion:
That, given the unprecedented nature of the Trudeau II Report, the Committee invite the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner to brief the Committee on his report, and that the Committee invite any further witnesses as required based on the testimony of the Commissioner.
Colleagues, in this committee's previous consideration of opposition motions regarding the SNC-Lavalin scandal, Mr. Erskine-Smith, speaking for all Liberal members of this committee, characterized those motions as premature until the justice committee completed its study and the Ethics Commissioner completed his investigation. The Liberal majority voted against all opposition motions.
Now we know the chair and Liberal members of the justice committee shut down their study prematurely, and a week ago, the Ethics Commissioner published the “Trudeau II Report”, reporting to parliamentarians and to all Canadians that their Prime Minister broke the law by improperly attempting to influence the Attorney General in “many ways”. It confirmed Canadians' decisions and suspicions and much more.
It is a weighty report, even though the commissioner states that his investigation is incomplete and even though he reports he was prevented by the Clerk of the Privy Council from accessing relevant witness testimony under a blanket confidentiality shield, thus blocking him from looking at the entire body of evidence. Despite all of those challenges, the Ethics Commissioner declares he gathered sufficient factual information to properly determine the matter on its merits. He has itemized those facts in great detail.
Again, as the commissioner writes in his conclusion, the Prime Minister's actions were “improper” and “contrary to the constitutional principles of prosecutorial independence and the rule of law.”
Colleagues, these detailed findings of fact on a Prime Minister's actions are unprecedented in Canadian history. I hope that you will agree that a debriefing session with the Ethics Commissioner as soon as possible is as appropriate now as was the debriefing session on “The Trudeau Report” number one with the previous commissioner last year.
Thank you, Chair.
View Lisa Raitt Profile
CPC (ON)
View Lisa Raitt Profile
2019-08-21 13:06
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. I echo the comments made by Mr. Kent with respect to the desire for this committee to move forward by hearing from the Ethics Commissioner.
I am here today because I was a member of the justice committee that was shut down in March of this year in favour of the Ethics Commissioner's conducting his study. A letter was sent by the Liberal members of the committee on March 18 to the chair of the justice committee. Those members were Randy Boissonnault, Iqra Khalid, Ali Ehsassi, Ron McKinnon and Colin Fraser.
They said their conclusion, after the testimony heard at the justice committee, was that all of the rules and laws were followed. They also said they believed that the ongoing study of the Ethics Commissioner was the appropriate way forward and that they had faith in the Ethics Commissioner. They also noted that the opposition parties rushed to judgment before hearing all of the relevant information.
Following the shutting down of the justice committee, the ethics committee then tried to raise the issue for discussion. On March 26, the matter was again blocked. As a result, we were left with the office of the Ethics Commissioner being the only venue where an investigation was taking place. Indeed, if you look at Hansard for April and May of 2019, when asked questions by members of the opposition, the Prime Minister said and then reiterated continuously that he had faith in the Ethics Commissioner conducting his study.
However, most recently the Prime Minister, in commenting on the “Trudeau II Report” issued last week, said two things that caught my attention. The first was “We fully cooperated with the Commissioner” and the second was “I disagree with that conclusion”. These two statements carry great weight. They're by the Prime Minister of Canada and they are the only statements regarding the Ethics Commissioner's report on record by the Prime Minister on this matter. It is unfair that the Ethics Commissioner has no voice and no venue to be able to respond to these two assertions made by the Prime Minister.
There is a provision in the Conflict of Interest Act to allow somebody who is being investigated to appeal a ruling of the Ethics Commissioner. We find ourselves in some uncharted territory because what the Prime Minister seems to seek to do is to change the report of the Ethics Commissioner by saying that he doesn't agree with it and that he fully co-operated.
The evidence of the Ethics Commissioner in his report is that, to the contrary of the Prime Minister's statement, they did not fully co-operate with the commissioner at all. Indeed, the commissioner went to great lengths to note his concerns with respect to the appropriateness of the way in which the Prime Minister sought to produce documents, be interviewed and, at the end of the day, determine whether or not a waiver would be extended to allow the Ethics Commissioner to have access to all of the information he deemed appropriate for the study.
Where we find ourselves in uncharted territory is this: The Conflict of Interest Act does not allow for the Ethics Commissioner's report to be changed. No committee of Parliament, no vote in the House of Commons can change the contents of a report by, or the decision of, the Ethics Commissioner. The report is what it is and stands as it is, yet the Prime Minister is now trying to say the report is wrong.
The good news for him is that if he chooses to in fact go ahead and appeal the ruling of the Ethics Commissioner, he has the ability to do so. He can do that by launching a judicial review at the Federal Court of Appeal. That is the appropriate venue for the Prime Minister to challenge the Ethics Commissioner, not in the court of public opinion, which he is seeking to do right now.
Why does this all pertain to a visit by the Ethics Commissioner to committee? Well, I do believe, as a lawyer, that there are rules regarding procedural fairness. Clearly, the Prime Minister is not going to be seeking judicial review of this ruling. He hasn't said he is going to do that, and in fact it doesn't seem as if he has any plans to even address that question.
That being said, it is still fair for the Ethics Commissioner to be able to respond in some way, shape or form to questions by the committee, by members of Parliament who seek to understand the discrepancy between what the Ethics Commissioner found and what the Prime Minister is attempting to assert to the Canadian public.
That is the issue of public interest that is so important in having the Ethics Commissioner come to testify. It is the foundation of our rule of law that accusations are allowed to be responded to and rebutted. That, I believe, is something, as parliamentarians, we owe to the Ethics Commissioner, who does his work at the request of all parliamentarians and indeed is voted on by all parliamentarians to sit as an officer of Parliament.
In summary, Mr. Chair, I would say that, after months and months of the Liberal members of Parliament on the justice committee, on the ethics committee, the Prime Minister himself and every minister who answered a question in the House of Commons answering with the refrain that they trust and believe in the independence of parliamentary officers and will listen to them and will co-operate fully, it is owed to the Ethics Commissioner, due to all of these comments, to have the ability to come in and respond to the two things the Prime Minister has said about this report, which are, first, that he fully co-operated with the commissioner, which the commissioner says is not the case, and second, that he disagrees with the conclusion, without telling us which conclusion he disagrees with.
With that, Mr. Chair, I pass the floor to the next individual, and I hope that my colleagues on the other side will, in fact, allow for the Ethics Commissioner to appear today, in fairness, in justice and to uphold the administration of our procedure.
View Bob Zimmer Profile
CPC (BC)
We are good to proceed with the vote.
(Motion negatived: nays 5, yeas 4)
The Chair: Mr. Kent's motion is defeated.
That said, we have a motion from Mr. Angus still to discuss.
Go ahead, Mr. Angus.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
In part, I would just like to address some of what's been said in conversation, particularly the idea that we ought to wait on an appearance by the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner in order to undertake a study. There are a couple of issues with that.
One is that we know—it's been made public—that the commissioner himself is sick and on an indeterminate leave, so we don't know that.... Even though our parliamentary process around the estimates will continue, the commissioner himself may very likely not appear. Even if he did, if the investigation were still under way, I'm quite sure it's not his usual practice to comment on investigations that are actually happening. Until he concluded his investigation, there would be nothing for him to say in this place.
Further, with respect to that investigation concluding without him back in his position, the Conflict of Interest Act, under which he reports, in section 44(7) indicates that, “The Commissioner shall provide the Prime Minister with a report setting out the facts”, etc. In other words, the act says that only the commissioner provides that report. It's not clear that, without an interim commissioner—and no interim commissioner has been appointed—the report could actually be issued and therefore the investigation concluded.
Absent an actual interim commissioner, I don't think it makes sense for the committee to wait on the Ethics Commissioner's appearance before the committee, because we really have no idea when that would be.
Thank you.
View Colin Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Colin Fraser Profile
2019-02-21 13:09
Is it your understanding that the Ethics Commissioner's current investigation into this matter will examine the discussions between the former attorney general and the Prime Minister and PMO staff?
Michael Wernick
View Michael Wernick Profile
Michael Wernick
2019-02-21 13:09
That is the way his request for document production is framed. It's a request to the Prime Minister, which captures the Prime Minister’s Office and the Prime Minister's department.
We immediately, as soon as that was initiated by the Ethics Commissioner, started the process of securing documents and ensuring that all the records would be available when the commissioner got around to asking for them or interviewing people.
Michael Wernick
View Michael Wernick Profile
Michael Wernick
2019-02-21 13:10
I have not heard personally from the Ethics Commissioner. The last thing I'm going to do is interfere in the process. The process is set by the Ethics Commissioner at his own pace and of his own volition, and he will exercise it as he sees fit.
Mary Dawson
View Mary Dawson Profile
Mary Dawson
2018-01-10 11:00
Thank you.
Mr. Chair and honourable members of the committee, I understand that you've invited me to appear before you today to speak about “The Trudeau Report”. I'm not sure what I can add to what I've said in the report, but I'll try to answer any questions the committee may have.
I released “TheTrudeau Report” on December 20, 2017. It contains the conclusions of the examination I carried out under the Conflict of Interest Act and of the inquiry I conducted pursuant to the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons.
I will limit my observations today to issues pertaining to the act, in light of the mandate of the committee.
I understand that you also want to talk about the amendments that I've proposed, and we'll see what we can do about that. It's not what I've focused on in the last couple of weeks, but I have a copy of them here and whatnot.
I launched the examination and inquiry into Mr. Trudeau's conduct in January 2017 in response to requests for investigation from two members of the House of Commons. Those requests were prompted by media coverage of a vacation that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family, along with several friends and their families, took on a private island owned by the Aga Khan from December 26, 2016 to January 4, 2017. I subsequently learned that Mr. Trudeau, his family, and other relatives had also vacationed on the island in December 2014, and members of his family and their guests had done so in March 2016 as well.
The Aga Khan, as the founder and chair of various charitable organizations, has a long-standing relationship with the Government of Canada, which since 1981 has contributed nearly $330 million to projects supported by the Aga Khan Foundation Canada. The foundation's CEO is registered to lobby the Government of Canada, including the Prime Minister's Office.
Briefly, I found that Mr. Trudeau contravened four provisions of the Conflict of Interest Act, namely sections 5, 11, 12, and 21. I found that he did not contravene two other provisions: subsection 6(1) and section 7 of the act. I also found that he did not contravene the members' code.
As most of my findings hinged on Mr. Trudeau's acceptance on behalf of himself and his family the gifts of vacations on the Aga Khan's private island, I'll speak specifically about my findings of a contravention of subsection 11(1) of the act.
Subsection 11(1) sets out the act's gift rule. It prohibits public office holders and their family members from accepting “any gift or other advantage...that might reasonably be seen to have been given to influence the public office holder in the exercise of an official power, duty or function.” The test is not whether the donor intended to influence the recipient or whether the recipient was indeed influenced, but whether it might reasonably be seen that the gift or other advantage was given for that reason.
The evidence showed that there was ongoing official business between the Government of Canada and the Aga Khan and his institutions at the time each invitation to visit the island was accepted and that Mr. Trudeau, as Prime Minister, was in a position to be able to advance some of the matters of interest to the Aga Khan, whether he did so or not. I therefore found that the gifts could reasonably be seen to have been given to influence Mr. Trudeau “in the exercise of an official power, duty or function.”
Subsection 11(2) sets out a number of exceptions to the gift rule set out in 11(1), including where the gift or other advantage is from a relative or friend, so I had to consider whether Mr. Trudeau and the Aga Khan were friends for the purposes of the act, and interestingly, that exception is not in the code; there's not an exception for friends in the code.
The act does not define the word “friend”. It's a word that's used in different ways by different people and can apply to a range of relationships, from the closest of lifelong companions to neighbours, colleagues, acquaintances, or business associates who see each other only occasionally and have little emotional attachment.
Mr. Trudeau's relationship with the Aga Khan was based on a family connection rooted in a friendship between the Aga Khan and Mr. Trudeau's father. However, Mr. Trudeau had no personal or private interactions with the Aga Khan from 1983 until 2013, when Mr. Trudeau became leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, other than on the occasion of his father's funeral.
These factors led me to conclude that their relationship could not be described as one of friends for the purposes of the act, bearing in mind that friends can have all sorts of different meanings to different people. Instead, it appears to be one of two world leaders with common ideas and goals who have great respect for each other and whose families share a connection.
I also observed in “The Trudeau Report” that Mr. Trudeau said that he felt that as Prime Minister, he could now pursue a friendship with the Aga Khan. However, public office holders must put on hold the pursuit of friendships with individuals with whom they are likely to have official dealings when they are in public office.
“The Trudeau Report” has focused renewed attention on the Conflict of Interest Act and its perceived weaknesses, particularly the lack of penalties for breaches of its substantive provisions. The only penalties it provides for are administrative monetary penalties, which the commissioner may impose on reporting public office holders who fail to meet certain reporting requirements of the act.
I'm not of the view that more stringent penalties are required. It was never Parliament's intention that the act form part of the criminal system. Indeed, the act requires the commissioner to suspend an examination and notify the relevant authorities if he or she has reasonable grounds to believe that an offence has been committed under another act of Parliament. In my view, publicity and the test of re-election make up the appropriate form of redress for contraventions of the act and are sufficient to encourage compliance.
I also wish to address some comments that have been made on the time required to complete this report.
In my years as commissioner, I conducted all my examinations thoroughly and with a high degree of diligence, in keeping with the standards and practices I established for the office, the requirements of the act, and respect for procedural fairness. In each of my reports I provided a detailed description of the process that was followed and the information that was obtained. The amount of time it took to complete this or any other examination depended on a number of factors. They included the number of investigations under way, the number of case files being reviewed, the delays in scheduling witnesses and obtaining relevant documents from a variety of sources, and the report drafting and editing process, which can take some time as well.
Before I conclude my opening statement, I note that the committee has undertaken to conduct a new review of the act in early 2018. My experience in the last 10 years has been that the act has worked well overall. However, I believe there's room for improvement. I listed a large number of suggestions in the submission I made to this committee at the time of the five-year review. I'd be pleased to discuss my recommendations for amendments with the committee when it takes up the study.
Now I'll be happy—I hope—to answer any questions the committee may have.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
View Bob Zimmer Profile
CPC (BC)
I call the meeting to order of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics. This is meeting number 84, pursuant to Standing Order 111.1(1), on the certificate of nomination of Mario Dion to the position of Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, referred to the committee on Monday, December 11, 2017.
I'd like to welcome you today, Mr. Dion, and you have 10 minutes. Thank you.
Mario Dion
View Mario Dion Profile
Mario Dion
2017-12-12 15:30
Thank you very much.
Mr. Chairperson, members of the committee, I am truly honoured to appear before you this afternoon to discuss my nomination as the next and second Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner. I sincerely hope that, after we've had a chance to discuss my credentials and my plans, my nomination will be approved by the House of Commons.
As you know, this office was established some 10 years ago as an independent officer of the House of Commons to provide assistance to appointed and elected officials in ensuring that conflicts between their private interests and their public duties are prevented. This was deemed necessary by Parliament to maintain and to further enhance the confidence of Canadians in the House of Commons and its members, as well public office holders.
The Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner is responsible for administering two texts: the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons and the Conflict of Interest Act. The code, which was adopted in 2004 and subsequently amended several times, applies to the 338 members of Parliament. The act governs the conduct of current and former public office holders, including ministers, ministers of state, parliamentary secretaries, staff members, political advisers and the members appointed by the Governor in Council. In her last annual report, Commissioner Dawson, estimated that there were 2,254 incumbents on March 31.
The role of the Office of the Commissioner is first and foremost preventive, although the Commissioner has the necessary powers to investigate when a breach of the code or the act is alleged. This is in fact what the Commissioner has done a number of times since her appointment in 2007.
The main responsibilities of the office are to provide advice to individuals whose conduct is governed by the code or by the act, to review the confidential reports that they are required to submit, to establish compliance measures, to maintain a public registry and confidential files, and to administer a penalty regime under the act.
I understand that you've had an opportunity to consult my curriculum vitae. As you know, I am currently chairperson of the Immigration and Refugee Board. I have played a number of roles in the public sector since joining it as a legal adviser. I am originally from Montreal.
However, I am not a lawyer in Montreal. I left that city in 1973 and have been in Ottawa ever since.
My family moved to the national capital region shortly before I entered law school at the University of Ottawa.
I am married and the father of three adults now in their thirties. I chose the public sector originally because I wanted to contribute to issues that matter to society as a whole, as opposed to purely personal and private interests. I've always been intellectually curious, and I also wanted to ensure that I would not be restricted to the same duties for the duration of my career.
I have been privileged to be able to work in areas that are important to Canadians and that also correspond to my personal strengths as a jurist and as a leader of professionals in the public sector. I spent a total of 18 years at the Department of Justice in several senior positions, including that of associate deputy minister, and four years as assistant deputy minister with the Correctional Service of Canada.
I have been a deputy head since 2003. I've been an agent of Parliament for four years as Public Sector Integrity Commissioner between 2011 and 2014, as well as head of two independent tribunals, the national Parole Board and now the Immigration and Refugee Board.
My most important achievement is, without any doubt, the finalization of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement in 2005, while I was the deputy head responsible for the resolution of issues arising out of this terrible chapter of our history.
I am therefore a career civil servant, proud to have served Canada and my fellow Canadians. This is what we have in common, whether as members of Parliament, senators or public servants.
When I saw that Mary Dawson's term was coming to an end about a year ago, I did not apply, as I had a number of objectives to finalize at the IRB. I only decided to apply late this summer after having finalized an action plan to face an almost unprecedented increase in the number of refugee claims being made at this point in time. We've developed a very organized action plan to try to maximize the use of our resources and to increase the number of claims that we are able to deal with, and we have increased by 25% the number of claims compared with last year, with very few additional injections of resources.
I also wanted to recruit a few key senior managers at the IRB before thinking about going anywhere else.
On August 18, when I sat in front of my computer—I think it was a Saturday or a Sunday—I decided it was time to apply for the position of commissioner.
Even though there wasn't a deadline per se, they were saying they would start to review candidates on July 28. They said that if you wish to apply, you nevertheless can do so afterwards—on the poster itself—so I applied. I got a call in mid-November, basically to invite me to an interview. I was interviewed less than three weeks ago, and here I am today.
I think I have the attributes to meet the requirements of this position that is very important for our democracy.
For 30 years I have been leading groups of professionals in the federal government, jurists, but also people who work in the social sciences and economics. I have the reputation of being a good leader of professionals. I enjoy running teams, planning things, and getting results. I like working on concrete and meaningful things. I love being independent, although I understand that I must be accountable.
For over 10 years, I was the associate deputy minister for Justice John Tait, the first deputy minister to give me those powers. As for the two deputy ministers who followed, they sent me all the conflict of interest issues within the Department of Justice. I have had to make hundreds of decisions about requests for outside activities, publishing papers or articles, and outside legal practices. I had to deal with codes that were constantly changing, and I did so between 1992 and 2003.
I also have some experience with investigations. When I was the public sector integrity commissioner, we conducted about 100 investigations. Those investigations often involved senior officials and took place in a difficult climate. Of course, when someone is being investigated, they are not particularly happy about it. So I had to face very difficult situations that had to be carried out with great care and discernment.
The position of commissioner also includes an education component, meaning the education of the people who are covered by the code and the act, but also the education of the general public. Both at the Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner and at the Department of Justice, I led a lot of sessions that focused on education, training and teaching things that are often complex. It gives me great pleasure to try to simplify complex things without compromising the accuracy of the systems I'm trying to explain.
This is essentially why I believe I'm qualified for this position. I would like to make a direct contribution as Canada's second Ethics Commissioner, and I hope that I will enjoy your confidence to do so.
It's always difficult to make statements about one's priorities when you are not fully informed. As you know, everything that Ms. Dawson's office does is confidential, so I don't actually know much. All I know is what I see on the web and what I read in the media, so it's hard for me to launch a very informed description of what my priorities would be.
Based on what I have read—I did allude earlier to the education aspect—I think that's very important. The code and the act are very complex, in my view. Mary Dawson said the same thing three years ago when she appeared before this committee. They are complex. Therefore, it's hard to imagine that every public office holder is able to essentially, within a few hours, grasp precisely what is expected of her or him.
I would like to do more education in order to disseminate the information as well as possible. I believe that people are fundamentally honest, that people do not get up in the morning with the intent of breaching the law. Therefore, it's important to make sure they understand what the expectations are. I would like to do more of that.
One of the things I've done in several positions that I've occupied is to focus on trying to increase efficiency, to optimize the use of resources the government makes available to us. Not knowing much about the current operations, I sense that maybe there is potentially more room for increased use of technology, which I would be looking at.
Mr. Chairperson, I once again thank you for inviting me to meet with the committee this afternoon. I will be pleased to answer any questions that members may have for me.
Thank you very much.
View Raj Saini Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Raj Saini Profile
2017-12-12 15:40
Good afternoon, Mr. Dion. Thank you very much for coming here this afternoon. We want to assure you that we will greet you very warmly here. We appreciate the three decades of service that you have given to this country. I think that's a phenomenal achievement.
You spoke a bit about education. The context you were speaking of was your own education in terms of the conflict of interest office. There may be some Canadians who may not understand the role of the office, and they may not understand the responsibilities. They may hear it once in a while in the media.
Do you think it's important for Canadians to understand? What do you see as your role in educating Canadians going forward?
Mario Dion
View Mario Dion Profile
Mario Dion
2017-12-12 15:41
I think it's important that Canadians understand that there are a number of mechanisms, institutions that exist to continue to improve. We are already seen as a model of democracy, a model of integrity as well. Canada is already very well positioned, but the average Canadian probably does not appreciate fully the institutions that do exist, in addition to this office, to ensure that this remains so. There is a solid foundation, essentially, to ensure that we continue to be solid and to further increase the probity, the integrity of our elected officials.
Albeit that everything, in particular, that the office deals with is confidential, I've had a media presence in previous positions. To the extent that it would be possible and compatible with the duties of this position, I have a natural tendency; I like doing media, unlike several of my former colleagues. This position has clear limitations, of course. This is not, first and foremost, a public relations position. To the extent possible, I would like to use the media as well to try to increase the understanding of the position and its role in maintaining integrity within government, within the legislative branch. I would be looking at that.
View Raj Saini Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Raj Saini Profile
2017-12-12 15:43
I want to ask you about the comparison with your current role as the chairperson of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. The decisions that you make on a daily basis have a huge impact on people's lives. In this new role you would be carrying similar weight. You would be making decisions on people's careers, their reputations, and potentially their lives.
How has your experience as chairperson of the board prepared you or will help guide your decisions in this new role?
Mario Dion
View Mario Dion Profile
Mario Dion
2017-12-12 15:43
I think decision-making is a discipline. It comes with the ability to analyze facts in an impartial manner, in an objective manner. It is transportable from one area to another.
As chairperson of the IRB, I do not actually make decisions involving refugees and immigrants, but I'm responsible for overseeing, for ensuring that we have the tools for our members. We have about 250 members who make decisions, who are appointed by the Governor in Council or are public servants, depending on which division they work in. My job is to make sure that they have the tools to be in a position to make objective decisions, to make reasonable decisions, and so on and so forth. I have experience in crafting guidelines, interpretation guides, and jurisprudential guidelines.
The ethics commissioner actually makes all the decisions. In this instance, if I'm appointed, although that's a marked difference from what I'm doing now, it's identical to what I was doing as Public Sector Integrity Commissioner, making all the decisions myself.
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