The peculiar idea of “a perceived conflict of interest” being fundamentally and usefully distinct from “a conflict of interest” has been getting a workout in Ottawa lately. Most famously, it formed a key part of Justin Trudeau’s defence in the WE-bacle (pending results of the ongoing ethics investigation). He should have recused himself from discussions about contracting WE Charity to administer a giant summer jobs program, the prime minister conceded, but insisted this was merely to avoid the perception of a conflict of interest, not a real one. Now former and unlamented Conservative leader Andrew Scheer is up to it. From 2008 to 2012 — that includes some of Scheer’s time as Speaker of the House of Commons — he employed his sister at taxpayer expense, The Globe and Mail has reported.