Ethics Watchdog reviews requests to investigate Trudeau for data science payments

Ottawa-Federal Ethics Watchdog is considering a request by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to investigate payments made by the MPs office to a company owned by his friend.

Conservative Rep. Michael Barrett has asked Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion to begin an investigation into the possibility of the Prime Minister’s involvement in signing a deal with Data Science.

The company was founded by Trudeau’s childhood friend Tom Pitfield, who was the Liberal Party’s premier digital strategist in the 2015 and 2019 election campaigns.

Globe and Mail reported last month that parliamentary spending reports showed that most of the Liberal Party’s Caucus paid money through their office budget to companies hired to provide digital services to the Liberal Party of Canada. did.

Trudeau says that members of the caucuses use data science in the work of their members, and both he and the party say there is a complete separation between politics and parliamentary business.

In a letter to Dion shared by Barrett on social media, he asked the commissioner to investigate Trudeau’s role in the contract and see if it violated the MP’s conflict of interest code. ..

He asked Watchdog to investigate the section where MPs are prohibited from taking actions that promote the interests of family members and other individuals and groups.

The request for comment from the Prime Minister’s Office was not immediately returned.

Dion replied in his own letter on Wednesday that the criteria for making such a request were met, and he forwarded it to the Prime Minister.

The Parliamentary Commission recently discussed whether to initiate its own investigation into this issue, but no decision was made after the five-hour meeting.

Meanwhile, Liberal MP and Commission Vice-Chairman Brenda Shanahan told members that her office uses a Montreal-based company for technical support in both French and English.

She also heard testimony from Pitfield and panned a Conservative attempt to learn more about what the company is doing for Congressmen as a “fake scandal.”

Stephanie Taylor

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