News

MPPs' behaviour in question period 'a public embarrassment'

By Antonella Artuso, Queen's Park Bureau Chief

Queen's Park in Toronto. (Toronto Sun files)

Queen's Park in Toronto. (Toronto Sun files)

TORONTO - 

Ontario’s integrity commissioner, Lynn Morrison, is calling for more decorum during question period at Queen’s Park.

“I am dismayed when I see how elected officials behave during question period,” Morrison says in the opening message to her latest and last annual report. “It does not meet the standards expected of the Ontario public and is a public embarrassment.

“The dignity and respect have been lost and public cynicism is increasing,” she says of the behaviour of MPPs in the legislature.

Morrison, who has announced her intention to retire in the coming months, is responsible for ensuring that high ethical standards are maintained in the Ontario government.

Her 2014-15 annual report, Encouraging A Culture of Integrity, highlighted the ethical challenges faced by MPPs and staff during the year.

A look at some of the actual cases resolved by the integrity commissioner:

- A private company asked that a safety brochure with the firm’s logo be displayed in a constituency office.

  • Integrity commissioner ruling: No

- Constituents frequently go to MPP for legal advice, and the MPP wanted to know if it was OK to pass on a lawyer’s name.

  • Integrity commissioner ruling: No

- MPP was offered two free tickets to event where MPP was scheduled to speak on behalf of government, so is this OK?

  • Integrity commissioner ruling: No

- A new policy adviser to a minister had previously worked for stakeholder, wondered if OK to work on related files.

  • Integrity commissioner ruling: No, ordered screen put in place to separate adviser from former employer’s files.

- An employee in minister’s office has a separate online business unrelated to work, asked if it was OK to continue?

  • Integrity commissioner rules: Yes, with conditions to refrain from using any government resources.

 

LOBBYING (The integrity commissioner oversees lobbyist registry):

Top three groups lobbied in order: MPPs, premier and Cabinet Office, and Ministry of Finance.

Top three subjects lobbied on: Economic Development and Trade, Environment, and Health.


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