January 16th, 2014

Conservative Senator Josée Verner unable to follow ethics rules, again

After losing her re-election bid, former Conservative MP Josée Verner was rewarded by Stephen Harper with a job for life, as a senator.

Despite Stephen Harper’s generous patronage appointment – including an annual salary of $135,200 plus expense – Ms. Verner doesn’t seem to believe she has a responsibility to follow the Senate’s ethics rules, as minimal as they are.

“A two-firm consortium that included LXB Communication-Marketing Inc. won tendered deals from both the National Gallery of Canada and the Canadian Museum of Civilization in 2010 and 2012, respectively. Ms. Verner’s husband, Marc Lacroix, is LXB’s president. She once worked for the firm and corporate records show her family’s trust fund has an ownership stake in it. LXB is allowed to bid on such contracts, but changes made to the Senate conflict of interest code in 2012 required Ms. Verner to report the deals within 60 days. She did not.”
– Globe and Mail, January 15, 2014

Ms. Verner should already be aware that it’s also important to follow the rules when it comes to her husband’s company – given her previous troubles.

“A negative advertising campaign directed at the 400th anniversary of Quebec has caused embarrassment for federal Heritage Minister, Josée Verner. The advertisements, commissioned by Quebec City’s CHOI-FM radio station, were produced by Verner’s husband’s agency, LXB Communication Marketing. Verner’s position appears even more delicate given that she is personally linked to her husband’s company.” – Le Devoir, November 3, 2007 [Translation]

It appears that – like the majority of her Conservative colleagues – Senator Verner is not going to let a few ethics rules get in the way of her sense of entitlement.

At the very least, these unelected, unaccountable and under investigation senators to start following the rules.

Canadians deserve better.