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Reaction to Harper's defence of Industry Minister Christian Paradis

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The CBC Community reacted strongly to the conflict of interest finding against Industry Minister Christian Paradis, even before Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he would stand by him.

 Conservative cabinet minister Christian Paradis broke the rules and gave special treatment to former Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer, the federal ethics watchdog said in a report Thursday. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)On Thursday, Conflict of Interest Commissioner Mary Dawson said Paradis violated the Conflict of Interest Act when he told officials at Public Works and Government Services, which he headed at the time, to talk with former MP Rahim Jaffer about his company, Green Power Generation.

At a news conference in Bangkok, Harper told reporters that Paradis "didn't act with any ill intention of any kind, nor has any substantial harm of any kind occurred."

"I think the appropriate thing in this case is simply for the minister to learn and to conduct himself with greater precaution in the future," Harper said.

Neither Dawson's ruling nor Harper's support for Paradis sat well with the vast majority of the CBC Community.


  • "With Harper's 'tough on crime' agenda, if you are a Canadian citizen who breaks the rules you go to jail. If you are a politician who breaks the rules you 'learn and to conduct himself with greater precaution in the future,'" said Razor97.

  • "Once again, a member of our current government is caught being completely oblivious to rules and regulations that THEY created! Politicians should be held accountable to the highest standards, not the lowest. I am losing more and more respect and esteem for our politicians, and our system of government," said EastCoast_Mountainee. 

Before Harper spoke to reporters about Paradis, commenters on the story were calling for the minister to be removed from cabinet.

  • "The honorable and right thing for him to do would be to resign from his cabinet post today," said PM Jef.

  •  "Will the PM punish this minister? Will Harper Conservatives have the integrity to call for his resignation, as you know they would if it had been a Liberal or NDP Minister? Nothing, absolutely nothing shocks me from this government now," said JoeyA123.

  • "Ok, there it is. Independent verification of an ethical breach. Bob and weave all you want... but this requires a boot from the cabinet," said sailor98.

  • "There is no real accountability in our government. Politicians can get away scot-free or with just a token slap on the wrist most of time for all sorts of serious ethical and legal violations. Canada needs a party to step up to the plate and commit to bringing in real accountability into government including stiff penalties such as serious jail time for ethical and legal violations by MP's and their staff," said Edm AB Guy.

Commenters defending Paradis and Harper were few and far between.

  • "What would be the story if Paradis had refused to meet with him simply because he was an ex-MP, instead of taking an interest in his legitimate business? Many people are too quick to jump the gun simply because he is a conservative. I understand and agree with the Minister's supposed basis of meeting with Jaffer. Sometimes the rules need to be broken," said seankr.
Thank you, as always, for following our coverage. Please feel free to challenge any of these points and continue the conversation below.

Tags: Conservatives, Politics

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