How can our lawmakers stand such harsh scrutiny?

By Lawrence Martin, The Globe and Mail, 19 July 2011

The Conservatives have learned well. Remember in the old days when they used to holler about the performance of Jean Chrétien’s ethics counsellor, Howard Wilson. Watchdog Wilson, they charged, was a great boon to the Liberals. Present him with allegations of wrongdoing, they said, and inevitably he would find no evidence of wrongdoing.

But if the Conservatives thought he was a soft touch, they might want to check the record of their own ethics commissioner, watchkitten Mary Dawson. In four years on the job, working with inadequate legislation, her pursuit of malfeasance has been so relentless and unyielding that on only two occasions has she found that a politician violated ethical standards. That’s from a caseload of allegations numbering in the hundreds.Of the two cases her merciless team of investigators moved on, neither reflected poorly on the government. One was against a Liberal MP. Another was a decision last week against former Conservative MP Helena Guergis for using her position to further the business interests of her husband, Rahim Jaffer. The verdict tended to vindicate Prime Minister Stephen Harper for his decision to dump Ms. Guergis from caucus last year.

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