Stiff penalties for MPs who demand payment for services they were elected to provide and an end to parliamentarians sitting on corporate boards.
Those are two key policy planks in an ethics code for MPs being proposed by Burnaby-New Westminster MP Peter Julian. The NDP caucus chair wants to strengthen ethics rules by making them law and giving the ethics commissioner the power to hand out penalties to politicians who violate the legislation.
Julian said there are currently no penalties for MPs who behave badly.
“It’s like people robbing a bank and being told, ‘Just pay the money back, and you’re free to go.’ There are no consequences. Right now, nothing happens.”
Julian said his party is challenging the Conservatives and the Liberals to agree to the proposal and beef up the rules governing MPs and senators’ behavior.
The NDP’s three-point proposal would:
- Prohibit parliamentarians from sitting on the boards of big corporations.
- Stop parliamentarians from double-dipping by banning payment for work that is part of their job as an MP or senator.
- Strengthen ethics rules by enshrining them into law and empowering the ethics commissioner to administer real penalties when politicians break the rules.
As an example, Julian criticized Liberal leader Justin Trudeau for charging speaking fees after he was elected as an MP. He said Trudeau showed “unusually poor judgment” in accepting the payment.
Julian said a $10,000 fine for a breach of the ethics law would give the rules some teeth.
The proposal comes as Parliament is set to resume with the Speech from the Throne today (Wednesday).