They campaigned on being more ethical than the Conservatives but the Liberals are facing ethical questions of their own mere months into government.
Turns out that Liberal House Leader Dominic LeBlanc wrote to a citizenship judge and asked him to resign, something the Conservatives say amounts to political pressure.
Last fall LeBlanc wrote to dozens of people who had their appointments to boards and tribunals extended or renewed by the Harper government before the last election. The Liberal defence is that they didn't make the appointments and they are within their rights to question them.
Not so say the Conservatives pointing out that at least one of the appointees LeBlanc wrote to is a judge and part of an organization the government regularly battles in court with.
"These people were already appointed. He has no right to use his position to intimidate them," Conservative MP Blaine Calkins said. "Judicial independence is paramount. These judges and tribunal members make rulings on matters between the government and Canadians. Will they now feel pressured to side with the new Liberal government in order to keep their jobs?"
LeBlanc was having none of it.
"The member knows full well that our letters to these members were about personnel matters and not about cases or files that were before them," LeBlanc replied. "It is an elementary thing that the Governor-in-Council can interact with the people we appoint to different jobs on personnel matters."
Calkins shot back that this is not LeBlanc's first run in with ethics violations referencing an incident in 2003, and illegal fundraising last year.
In 2003 Leblanc helped set up flights to the Irving fishing lodge for several fellow Liberal MPs including current cabinet minister John McCallum. Due to his close relationship with the Irving family, LeBlanc had been warned about having dealings with them while in government. Last fall the Liberals were forced to cancel a fundraiser that featured LeBlanc and other cabinet members and offered donors a chance to ask ministers questions about government business. The fundraiser was cancelled after an intervention from the ethics commissioner.
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