The co-founder of Democracy Watch said that the Liberals deserve an “F” in ethics during testimony before the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics on Monday. 

Democracy Watch is an Ottawa-based NGO that promotes accountability and transparency in government. It was co-founded by Duff Conacher in 1993. 

Conacher was invited to testify before the committee and made the statement in response to a question by Conservative Ethics Critic Michael Barrett. 

“What grade would you give Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his adherence to ethics laws since being elected in 2015?” asked Barrett. 

“Well, both in ethics laws but also in terms of breaking open government promises, the Liberals grade an F in both cases,” said Conacher. 

“For sure, it’s been a complete failure. He sent a great letter to ministers with great talk in it… Prime Minister Trudeau has not walked his own talk.”

The prime minister could potentially be found guilty of breaking ethics laws a third time after his government became embroiled in a conflict of interest scandal involving WE Charity.

The organization was awarded the management of a sole-sourced $900 million federal student service grant despite its many connections to the Trudeau family and members of the Liberal cabinet. 

During his own testimony, Trudeau skirted responsibility for his involvement in the decision, suggesting that the public service was responsible for who would get the contract. 

“There was never any direction by or attempt to influence from me or my staff that the public service recommend WE Charity,” said Trudeau.

Earlier appearances by WE co-founders Mark and Craig Kielburger revealed that Trudeau’s mother was paid by the charity up to $167,944 for various speaking engagements. 

“My mother and my brother are professionals in their own right who have engagements and have for many, many years, with many different organizations across the country, and I don’t have the details of their work experiences or expenses,” Trudeau said about the matter. 

Among others who have been implicated in the ethics scandal is Liberal Finance Minister Bill Morneau, who accepted free trips from the organization to Kenya and Ecuador.

Morneau has since apologized for the trip and reimbursed the organization $41,366. 

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