Inside Politics

Liberals want Runia, Gerstein to share 'expertise' on conflict of interest law at House committee

In what appears to have become a cross-Chamber campaign to get Deloitte managing partner Michael Runia to pay a visit to Parliament Hill, Liberal MP Scott Andrews wants to invite both Runia and Conservative Senator Irving Gerstein to appear before the House ethics committee. 

He isn't interested in questioning the pair abotu that now notorious phone call from the latter to the former on the status of the audit into Senator Mike Duffy, mind you -- at least, not according to his motion.  

Instead, he wants them to "share their expertise" on the current conflict of interest regime - and specifically, opine on whether the law is "sufficiently broad to protect the integrity of Parliament." 

Here's the full text of the motion, which could come up for debate as early as next Tuesday:

That the committee hold meetings on whether or not the Conflict of Interest Act is sufficiently broad so as to protect the integrity of Parliament, and Parliamentary Committees, and that the following witnesses be invited to testify, given their expertise in the subject matter:

·Michael Runia, Managing Partner, Ontario, Deloitte

·Senator Irving Gerstein

And that the committee report its findings to the House

The Deloitte audit is, of course, entirely outside the jurisdiction of the committee, as are any allegations of impropriety related to the auditing process.

The Conflict of Interest Act, however, is not, which likely explains the coyly worded motion.

In any case, destined though it may be to be defeated, Andrews will at least get to force the Conservatives to vote it down, although not necessarily before the committee itself is forced behind closed doors to deal with the matter away from the prying eyes of the public. 

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