Chris Selley: Trudeau and Scheer still don’t get that the perception of conflict is the reality


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.

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